Sockeye Waters, Sockeye Dreams, Redfish Lake, Idaho

"Sockeye Waters, Sockeye Dreams", addresses the disappearance of the Columbia River Basin Sockeye Salmon. Specifically, it focuses on the Redfish Lake Sockeye Salmon, which is the only surviving line of sockeye in the Snake River Basin, part of the Columbia River Basin. At one time up to sixteen million salmon swam the Columbia River Basin in the northwestern United States annually. Currently, more than seventy species of wild salmon, including the Snake River Sockeye, are in danger of becoming extinct. The Redfish Lake Sockeye Salmon was listed as an endangered species in 1992. Of the thousands that once swam the Salmon River run, only one sockeye salmon returned to Redfish Lake each year in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1998. None returned in 1997. 7 sockeye returned in 1999 and 257 returned in 2000. In 2001 there were 26 sockeye salmon and in 2002 there were 11 sockeye to return to Redfish Lake.

Phase I of "Sockeye Waters, Sockeye Dreams" was a temporary sculpture that followed a 1600 ft. long part of a path between Redfish Lake Lodge and Outlet Creek. The sculpture was on exhibit July 10, - August 10, 1998. It consisted of 240 salmon cutout shapes 2 to 8 feet in length painted white and placed along the lake, where the salmon once swam. There was one salmon painted red placed within the group. The sockeye salmon turn a brilliant red color during their journey up river to spawn. There was two dimensional documentation of the project inside the Sawtooth National Recreation Area's Visitors Center at Redfish Lake and the Redfish Lake Lodge.

Back in 1998 I came up with this crazy idea that I was going to create a 900 mile long sculpture....It went something like this:

"Sockeye Waters, Sockeye Dreams", will be the creation of a temporary sculpture/installation that will follow the 900 mile long run ( one of the longest salmon runs in the world) of the Redfish Lake Sockeye. It will consist of over 150,000 salmon cutout shapes approximately 10 to 20 feet in length. Initially the salmon will be painted a ghost white, representing the spirits of the thousands of salmon that once swam this incredible run. There will be one salmon painted red placed close to Redfish Lake. Through educational workshops, the salmon will be painted and "brought back to life". The salmon will be placed along the banks of the Columbia, Snake and Salmon Rivers, from the Pacific Ocean to Redfish Lake, running through the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. This temporary sculpture installation will be on display during the months of July through September (the time of year the sockeye salmon normally make their return to Redfish Lake) in the year 2004. Between now and 2004 the project will create several temporary exhibits along the path to promote the idea and public awareness.

I hope to see this part of the project completed.

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Gregg Schlanger interview, Incredible Idaho, PBS 1998