Salmon Safari
Salmon Safari Information PDF Print E-mail

The Mountaineers Education Adventure:

A Conservation and Education Program

 

The Mountaineers Kitsap Branch wants to take your group on safari! Designed to appeal to kids at a variety of ages, our safaris provide an excellent introduction to salmon and their habitat. An adult program is being added in 2006. Safaris are held at historic Kitsap Cabin in the natural forest setting of The Mountaineers Foundations beautiful Rhododendon Preserve, and can feature experts, guides, storytellers, videos, and classroom exercises according to your needs.

Please stay tuned for more details about the program. Please e-mail us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you have any questions.

The Mountaineers are proud to partner with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife as a local Kitsap County host for a Wild Salmon Education Trunk.

Salmon Safaris is pleased to announce that safaris are now available in the spring as well. The Spring safari season runs from March 15-April 15. See our FAQs below for the differences between fall and spring safaris.

Salmon Safaris is proud to have Jo Walter, one of Kitsap County's pre-eminent storytellers as our storyteller in residence. Please visit her website ahttp://www.jowalter.org/

 

 
Available Safaris PDF Print E-mail

Hike with a Mountaineer $100

A basic hike with one of our enthusiastic Mountaineer volunteers visiting two salmon spawning streams and the second largest Douglas Fir tree in Kitsap County

Hike with an Expert $175

A hike lead by a knowledgeable expert with personal ties to the Rhododendron Preserve visiting two salmon spawning streams and the second largest Douglas Fir tree in Kitsap County. Experts include, fisheries biologists, stream ecologist, and marine biologist.

Hike with a Mountaineer and Storyteller $175

A basic hike visiting two salmon spawning streams and the second largest Douglas Fir tree in Kitsap County then gather around the fireplace and listen to our master storyteller Jo Walter tell salmon themed stories from around the world.

Hike with an Expert and Storyteller $200

After a hike led by an expert in which you will visit two salmon spawning streams and the second largest Douglas Fir tree in Kitsap County gather around the fireplace where our master storyteller Jo Walter will hold you spellbound with salmon themed tales from around the world.

Hike with a Mountaineer and Classroom exercise $225

A basic hike visiting two salmon spawning streams and the second largest Douglas Fir tree in Kitsap County followed by a classroom exercise tailored to the age of the students and the educational goals of the field trip. Contact us for classroom exercise options.

Hike with an Expert and Classroom exercise $275

After a hike led by an expert in which you will visit two salmon spawning streams and the second largest Douglas Fir tree in Kitsap County after the hike participate in a classroom exercise tailored to your group. Contact us for classroom exercise options.

Hike with an Expert, Storyteller and Classroom Exercise $300

After a hike led by an expert in which you will visit two salmon spawning streams and the second largest Douglas Fir tree in Kitsap County gather around the fireplace where our master storyteller Jo Walter will hold you spellbound with salmon themed tales from around the world. Conclude your safari with a classroom exercise tailored to your group. Contact us for classroom exercise options.

Custom Safari prices vary

We will work with you to customize a safari that meets your educational needs and budget. Custom safaris are available year around and may focus on any aspect of the environment; trees, water, soil, etc.

Note: These rates are for groups of 30 or less. When we have more than 30 we break the group into two smaller groups one doing something in the cabin (storyteller is popular) and one on the trail and then we switch. We treat it as two safaris but discount the price of the second one. For groups of more than 60 we offer an added stewardship component at no additional charge.

 
What's New in Salmon Safaris PDF Print E-mail

November Salmon Safaris are very popular. Check out our YouTube videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omSJmbFB24c and Flickr group http://www.flickr.com/groups/1277083@N20/ to see the wonderful conservation adventures provided by the Kitsap Branch.


 
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ PDF Print E-mail

 

Where is Salmon Safaris located?

Salmon Safaris take place on The Mountaineers Kitsap Cabin property (the same place as The Mountaineers Forest Theatre) and The Mountaineers Foundation Rhododendron Preserve. Located minutes away from Bremerton and Silverdale at 3000 Seabeck Highway you may click here for directions.

How long is the trail?

The trail out to the Big Tree  is approximately 3/4 of a mile. The hike to the further salmon viewing area is about 1/2 a mile.

How difficult is the trail?

This single file trail descends into the valley along a gentle series of switchbacks and hills. It is well within the capabilities of a healthy person but enough of a challenge to provide a real sense of accomplishment. Our executive director routinely took her children on this trail from the time they were two years old.

Under what conditions would you cancel a trip and how would that be done?

We cannot control the weather so we try not to let the weather control us. We are willing to go in almost any kind of weather. The exceptions are conditions that would cancel school—if school is canceled so is the safari—strong winds and snow on the trail. In a forest environment strong winds can toss branches around and even knock down trees. Although the trail is monitored for dangerous trees we will not put children at risk if there are very windy conditions. Because the weather is so changeable here in the Pacific Northwest we make the determination on wind conditions the day of the trip. Should conditions be dangerously windy we will call your school and discuss conditions with an eye toward rescheduling. Snow tends to linger longer in the forest and snow on the trail is dangerous because the trail becomes indistinguishable from the surroundings. We will cancel and try to reschedule the day before if there is snow on the trail.

What about heavy rains?

We believe that all residents of this area are familiar with the rain and able to dress appropriately. Most of the hike is under the forest canopy and the trees act almost as umbrellas blocking and deflecting a lot of the rain. Even though it may be pouring down in torrents in the open it will be significantly less intense along the trail. There are also three natural destinations along the trail. The first is the bridge across Wildcat Creek, the second our stream side viewing area and the final destination is Big Tree. If the group so chooses they can go just to the bridge, view spawning salmon and return. We can also go just to stream side (beyond the bridge) and return or complete the hike to Big Tree if desired. We strive to be flexible but believe weather should not be a significant detriment.

With all this rain, is the trail very muddy?

No. Trees drink an amazing amount of water and while the trail is definitely wet it is not coated in sticky mud and there is very seldom standing water. We believe that the wet leaves that cover much of the trail require hikers to exercise reasonable caution but that no more than that is necessary.

I understand that Salmon Safaris are now available in the spring. What is the difference?

The available safari options are identical in either fall or spring. The biggest differences are the age of the salmon being seen, the weather and the look of the forest. In the fall participants see the dramatic struggle of salmon as they return to their hatching place to spawn and die. In the spring schools of young salmon are visible just after they've emerged from their gravel hiding place. In the fall the weather is almost certain to be chilly and rainy. In the spring it will be warmer although it may be just as wet. In the fall the trees are shedding their leaves and going dormant for the winter. In the spring the forest is waking up and putting out new growth. At Salmon Safaris our ideal would be to have groups visit us in both seasons, booking one of our more popular options in the fall and returning in the spring for another safari.

I’ve heard there are bears out there. Should I be worried?

No. While bears have been sighted from time to time they are, as a rule, shy and school groups, even while trying to be quiet, tend to be loud in the woods. We do not expect that we will ever encounter a bear. However, a sharp eye is kept on the lookout and should a bear be spotted we will immediately retreat back up the trail and leave the bear to his fishing.

How long does it take?

The hike lasts about 90 minutes depending.

What kind of salmon will we see?

The Rhododendron Preserve is home to the largest Chum salmon in Kitsap County. There is also a recovering Coho salmon run and sharp eyed participants may spot a Coho salmon.

How large is the run?

The size of the Salmon run varies from year to year. The run can range form 5,000 fish to as many as 40,000. The Oyster Bay Estuary support one of the largest population of returning Chum salmon in the Southern Puget Sound Region.

How big is Big Tree?

Big Tree is among the 10 largest Douglas Fir trees in the world. It was a seedling about the time of the Magna Carta. The tree is approximately 11' in diameter at 6 feet from the ground.

How long does a classroom activity take?

Classroom Exercises take about an hour.

How long does the storyteller take?

Storytellers vary depending on many factors but an estimate of between 30 and 45 minutes is generally used.

When can I book my safari?

Availble dates can be seen by viewing this calendar. Please use our Contact Form for questions and bookings.

 

 
Volunteer Information PDF Print E-mail

Salmon Safaris Salmon Safaris, www.salmonsafari.org, needs you as a volunteer to support this program. Salmon Safaris is an outdoor education/conservation program which takes school groups on tours of the salmon streams on the Kitsap Property and Mountaineer Foundation Rhododendron Preserve property.  The dates of the safaris can be found by looking at the branch calendar.


Each safari needs two volunteers to properly support it. One volunteer is needed to be onsite to watch the fire in the cabin to make sure it stays burning until the kids have finished in the cabin and then to make sure that it goes out safely. This volunteer is also there in the unlikely event that something goes very wrong and emergency services are needed; and will be responsible for putting the EMTs on the right path to where the injured person is. (We sincerely hope that this role will never be necessary but would be sadly remiss in our responsibilities not to plan for it.) The other volunteer would accompany the hike as sweeper on the way down to the salmon stream and salmon viewing areas and then lead the hike out again with our Salmon Safari Executive Director Katha Miller-Winder who had lead the hike down acting as sweeper on the way out.


To volunteer or if you have questions, please, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .