The National Fish Hatcheries of the west actually are a viable touring option and most offer guided tours or group events. Visiting a fish hatchery certainly will appeal to the anglers in the crowd, while even those who do not intend to cast a line in the water will gain plenty of insight as well. A fish hatchery tour provides in depth information about local and regional ecosystems, especially those that are aquatic in nature. For bird watchers and wildlife photographers, the information about the aquatic food chain systems will come in handy when seeking specific subject matter in the field. Best of all, if the summer vacation plan involves recreational angling, the information gained at a fish hatchery will make filling the creel even easier to accomplish!
Basically, touring a National Fish Hatchery is a good learning experience for all wakes of life! In modern times, the hatcheries are a key device for ecosystem management and species preservation, especially in critical environmentally sensitive areas. Fish hatcheries also play a key role in fisheries that harbor major food resources, like the Columbia River Salmon, which spawn way upstream along the Snake and Salmon Rivers in Idaho. In this region, the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery plays a major role in keeping the Columbia River system stocked with salmon, so as can be imagined, this is a gigantic fish farming operation and there is plenty to see while there.
On a side note, my own personal tour of the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery was limited to the roadside because of the strict COVID regulations during the summer of 2020. In fact, I was just looking for a place to photograph ospreys along the Columbia River while traveling from Mt Hood north toward Mt Rainier, but the conditions were extremely windy that day, so the birds of prey photography mission was called off short. Tours of the hatchery were closed at that time, but I sure did make note of the unique setting with Mt Hood looming in the distance across the river in Oregon. The Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery is located just a few miles west of the Hood River Bridge on the Lewis & Clark Highway in Washington, so it is easy to find. This hatchery definitely is one of the most interesting in the entire west and the tour is well worth recommending!
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