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Salmon Better than Dams

by Don Tryon
Spokesman Review, June 6, 2007

Son of a dam builder, I grew up moving from one hydro project to the next, and sometimes fishing for salmon.

The big dam projects would not have been built if locals had their way. TVA dams flooded more than 15,000 families. Grand Coulee drowned 11 towns, two railroads, three primary highways, 14 bridges, four sawmills and numerous farms, ranches, orchards, cemeteries and small communities. I was not welcomed as the new kid at school.

The Columbia River was the greatest salmon production river in the world. Tiny little fish mined the sea and brought nutrients back to the immense watershed. Kettle Falls was a tourist center. Visitors arriving by train to view the spectacular falls and fish for the storied king of salmon stayed at the luxurious 62-room Rochester Hotel.

Our family moved to a salmon river with a proposed dam. As it turned out, our favorite salmon-fishing hole was right where the core of the dam plugged the river. Dam dollars made a good living for our family, but when dad was on his deathbed, it was a 40-pounder hooked in the core block hole and chased downstream a half mile we reminisced about.

Don Tryon, Colville
Salmon Better than Dams
Spokesman Review, June 6, 2007

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