Thursday, November 29, 2018

Oly on Ice Meets Nutcracker Cast

Above: Cindy Hall, in costume as a large rat from Ballet Northwest’s The Nutcracker, coaxes a girl out onto the ice at Olympia’s new seasonal ice rink Thursday evening. 

Early Rink Revenues Surpassing Expectations 

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

To the delight of children and other skaters, characters from Ballet Northwest’s The Nutcracker skated in costume to music traditionally associated with the production Thursday evening at Olympia’s new seasonal ice rink, Oly on Ice.

The skaters were the dancers who will perform in The Nutcracker from December 7 – 16 at the Washington Center in downtown Olympia.

Cindy Hall, a Shelton art teacher, plays one of eight large rats who fight the Nutcracker. In costume, she coaxed young skaters onto the ice and chased after others. 

An experienced skater and dancer, Hall danced with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Her mother was in the Ice Follies and her daughter is also a dancer.

Other dancers in costume included Giovanny Garibay, 15, of Centralia, who plays the lead role of the Nutcracker. The role of Clara is played by Nina Ivanenko, 14, of Lacey. She has been a ballet dancer for eleven years. June Marie Brittain, 17, of Lacey, has danced for fifteen years and plays the Arabian lead.

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Mayor Cheryl Selby said the revenues from Oly on Ice has so far surpassed expectations.

Little Hollywood asked Scott River, associate director for the City of Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Department, a few questions about the rink’s dedicated budget source, cost, and revenues.

“The projected cost of the rink is $365,000, with an estimated revenue of $151,125 through sponsorships and gate sales. The revenue from the gate helps to offset the expense of installing and operating the rink.

“For the first year, the rink will be subsidized by as much as 60 percent, and there is a goal of reducing that subsidy by 15 percent each year over the next three years. We’ll re-evaluate at that point,” said River.

The 60 percent subsidy for 2018 is covered by a combination of department user fees, general funds and Olympia Metropolitan Park District funds. The revenues generated from the rink are not available for other city priorities.

Asked about the cost of utilities, River said that the only utility of any significance is power. 

“The national average (for a rink this size) is $20,000 for a season but we believe that is significantly higher than what our bills will be. Of course, we won’t actually know until the season is over, but we conservatively budgeted towards the national average. Utilities are part of the department budget for this project.”

Oly on Ice opened November 16 and continues until January 6 with cheap skate nights, group rates, and special events.

For past stories about Oly on Ice, go to Little Hollywood at and use the search button to type in key words or go to the city’s ice rink webpage at

Above: Cast members of Ballet Northwest’s The Nutcracker gathered at Olympia’s new seasonal ice rink Thursday afternoon in downtown Olympia.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Olympia Tiny Home Village for Homeless Approved

Above: The City of Olympia approved the funding of a tiny home village for about 40 homeless individuals at 830 Union Ave SE, Olympia. It is expected to open in mid to late January.

Help Build a Tiny Home Event - December 1

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

The City of Olympia has approved funding and leasing agreements for a tiny home village for the homeless at 830 Union Ave SE, Olympia. 

The agreements were approved at the city councils meeting Tuesday evening.

The City of Olympia owns the property and will lease it to the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) and provide the organization $1,018,326 for the one year operation of the village.

The Plum Street Village is expected to serve a minimum of 40 homeless individuals.

LIHI is a nonprofit developer and operator of over 2,200 units of affordable housing in the Puget Sound region, including ten tiny house villages in Seattle.

The Village will be located behind the Lee Creighton Justice Center (the former Olympia City Hall) and adjacent to the Yashiro Japanese Garden. 

A final site plan must be approved by the city prior to construction and is expected to open in mid to late January. The public will be offered an opportunity to tour the site before it is occupied.

To learn more about the project, the city is holding a public meeting on Thursday, December 6, 6:00 p.m., Room A, at The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW.

Representatives of the Low Income Housing Institute will be available to answer questions at the meeting.

The village will accept single adults and couples without children. Each tiny house will be 8’ x 12 in size, insulated with electricity and heat, windows, and a lockable door. The village will also include a security house, a communal kitchen, meeting space, bathrooms, showers, laundry, a case management office and 24/7 staffing. 

LIHI case managers will work with village residents to help them obtain housing, employment, health care, treatment, education, and other services.

LIHI already owns and manages four buildings in Thurston County: Billy Frank Jr. Place, the Fleetwood Apartments, Magnolia Villa and Arbor House.

Beginning in 2019, the City of Olympia will host a public process to determine how the community will respond long-term to the impacts of homelessness. 

The city declared homelessness a public health emergency in July and is involved in a variety of efforts addressing transitional and permanent housing options.

Help Build a Tiny Home

A Tiny Home Build Day sponsored by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) will be held December 1, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Plum Street Village, 830 Union Avenue SE, Olympia. Four tiny homes will be built. 

The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) will provide lunch and all equipment, but suggests that if you have carpentry tools, bring them. Assistance will be provided to those with little to no construction or painting experience. 

To sign up, go to or email

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Pathway to Public Trail Underway

Above: Work has begun on a pathway between the Chehalis Western trail and the end of Ensign Road in Olympia. The pathway is a critical link for seniors and community members living in nearby apartment complexes, especially those who may have accessibility issues.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

Many seniors and other community members are thankful that a safe connection from Ensign Road to the Chehalis Western trail is finally underway.

Illumination will probably be installed by the end of December, said Michelle Swanson, senior program specialist with City of Olympia, Public Works.

Residents of The Firs, an independent living facility on Lilly Road, had worked for over two years with management and the city to gain access from the edge of the facility’s property to the trail.

From the edge of the sidewalk, the path dropped into a steep, 65 foot dirt path in the middle of a drainage ditch and rose again to meet the trail. As a result, seniors and other community members, many of whom use walkers, canes, and motorized scooters, were unable to use the trail. 

Finally, a settlement between the city and the facility was reached in March, 2018, allowing the project to move forward.

Bicyclists will also be able to use the pathway. 

The Chehalis Western trail system offers 56 miles of paved, uninterrupted trails, allowing access to regional businesses, homes, work, and recreational activities.

Publicity-shy workers stayed on task Wednesday but took a moment to tell Little Hollywood that many seniors and other passersby are excited to see the pathway take shape. 

The project is expected to be completed in a few weeks.

Little Hollywood broke this story in July, 2017 with “Seniors Denied Safe Access to Trail System,” at

For more information about the history of the pathway, go to “Olympia Approves Pathway to Trail System,” at

Above: As seen from the Chehalis Western trail on Wednesday, the pathway to Ensign Road near The Firs, an independent living facility, is under construction.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Youth Voice for Orcas: London Fletcher

Above: London Fletcher, 11, of Blaine, Washington, delivered a fiery speech at a rally for the remaining 74 Southern Resident orcas on the steps of the Temple of Justice in Olympia on Friday.

“We can no longer wait for the gears of bureaucracy,” Fletcher said.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

On behalf of the climate and Earth’s creatures, youth voices are rising. No longer can they be ignored and no longer will they be silenced.

London Fletcher, 11, of Blaine, Washington, wants to be a marine biologist specializing in cetaceans. 

In an article written two years ago for Dam Sense, Fletcher wrote, “Do not be distracted by my age. Please pay attention instead to the facts that we all need to know about our salmon and our killer whales.”

A marine activist for years, Fletcher is president and founder of The Blue Advocates Group, an ocean awareness organization for children and teens in Blaine, as well as a responder for the Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network and a research assistant at the Orca Research Trust. She is the world’s youngest member of the Society of Marine Mammalogy.

She has visited the Snake River dams and in August testified in front of the Southern Resident Orca Task Force convened by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee.

Inslee received a report by the task force on Friday and said he will review its 36 recommendations.

No one appeared to be distracted during Fletcher’s fiery speech about the remaining 74 Southern Resident orcas at a rally in Olympia on Friday.

In fact, her words brought tears to the eyes of some observers as she delivered them on the steps of the Temple of Justice.

“We can no longer wait for the gears of bureaucracy,” Fletcher said, her words loud and clear.

“Governor, I come to you again today on behalf of the critically endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales of the Salish Sea, the 700 thousand people who have signed our petition to breach the lower four Snake River dams, and as the spokesperson of the generation who will inherit the problems stemming from the decision you make today.

“Mr. Governor, in your inaugural speech, you said you want to reinvest in ourselves, in our future and in our children’s future, and to do these things we must act in a bipartisan way. You said that our core mission is serving the people of Washington, and every single thing we do should reflect that mission. Well, Mr. Governor, the people of Washington have spoken and you’re right, it is time to remember who we are as a state.

“Now, I must ask, who are we as leaders? Is your administration going to be remembered as the orca killers? Or the ones who stopped the relentless march of extinction in its tracks and set sail on a course toward a brighter future?

“Mr. Governor, I ask again, what legacy will you leave behind for my generation? Will it be a legacy of crippling debt? Will it be a legacy of mass extinction and barren waters? Or will it be a legacy of hope and prosperity?

“…the legacy you leave behind will be defined by your bravery or by your cowardice. That choice is yours to make, Mr. Governor,” she continued.

Recommendation 28 of the Orca Task Force suggests suspending the viewing of Southern Resident orcas in Puget Sound for the next three to five years.

Fletcher took issue with this and other recommendations:

“The laundry list of recommendations and the ‘bold’ last minute introduction and passage of wording proposing a meaningless moratorium of a benign activity while skirting the major problem for these whales – salmon population crashes throughout their range – is appalling.

“Mr. Governor, I implore you to do what is right so your grandchildren will be able to say on this day, ‘My Grandfather stood for what is just and what is right.’

“Today, I am young and life is long, and my purpose is clear. The days of killing our rivers, streams, fish and precious Southern Resident Killer Whales are numbered and I will never give up this fight.

“Today I made good on my pledge to fight for the orca and I hope that you stand with folks like me, and those you see before you today on the steps of our State Capitol who come to beg for the lives of these precious animals.

“Mr. Governor, the evil of the extinction and extermination of a noble and sentient family of whales unlike any other in the world is upon you.

“The entire world is watching. Do the right thing.”

Above: An Orca Formation of Mourning rally for the remaining 74 Southern Resident orcas was held on the steps of the Temple of Justice on Friday in Olympia. It was organized by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Portland.

Little Hollywood wrote about the Southern Resident Orca Task Force recommendations and Friday rally at

Friday, November 16, 2018

Rally for 74, Orca Task Force Recommendations Released

Above: An “Orca Formation of Mourning” rally for the remaining 74 Southern Resident orcas was held on the steps of the Temple of Justice Friday in Olympia. Indigenous speakers included Jesse Nightwalker, his mother Carrie Chapman Schuster Nightwalker, center, and his sister Della Ann James Cootes, all of the Palus (Palouse) Tribe.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee received a list of 36 recommendations in a report made by the Southern Resident Orca Task Force on Friday.  

Inslee said he and his staff will review the recommendations and assess each one for the most impact in the short and long-term. 

The report is available at:

One of the draft recommendations discusses the potential breaching or removal of the Lower Snake River Dams, but couched it in terms of not interfering with the current Columbia River Systems Operation National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

For some, that spells indefinite delays in the process.

The Southern Resident Killer Whales do not have time. The population has declined to 74, which is the lowest number of Southern Residents in more than three decades.

In response to the release of the report, an “Orca Formation of Mourning,” was held on the steps of the Temple of Justice Friday afternoon in Olympia.

The event was organized by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a non-profit, marine conservation organization based in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, Washington.

The group urged Governor Inslee to call Lt. General Todd Semonite of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and demand the immediate breach of the Lower Snake River dams. 

An environmental impact statement already in place suggests breaching the dams and could be chosen by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Seventeen seconds of silence was also held in honor of Tehlequah and her calf. Tehlequah was the orca who birthed a calf and held onto it past its death for 17 days last August.

Indigenous speakers at the rally included Jesse Nightwalker, his mother Carrie Chapman Schuster Nightwalker, and his sister Della Ann James Cootes, all of the Palus (Palouse) Tribe. Jesse Nightwalker said that he attended every meeting of the task force.

The Nightwalkers also delivered a petition, “Recommendation 74,” to the Governor’s Office calling for the breaching of the Snake River dams so the Southern Resident Orcas may enjoy their right to life, which includes their food source, the Chinook from the Snake River Watershed.

Later, activists chanted, “Tell the Corps to Breach All Four,” in the hall outside the Governor’s Office, meaning all four dams. The Governor did not make an appearance.

“We seek to have the dam removal agreement of 50 years ago, made with two Senators, Jackson and Magnuson, who promised to remove the dams with a handshake agreement with my grandmother, Mary Jim Chapman. We seek to have the state honor the agreement indefinitely,” said Jesse Nightwalker.

“This is a formal request of the Palus (Palouse). The Dams on the Snake River have forever been the bane of our existence. Our family was taken away from our land after existing there in the last living encampment there, for over 14,000 years. 

As an endangered human species, our survival was tied to the provision of fishing Salmon, gathering, and hunting on the lands surrounding the Snake River. We were wrongfully removed by the government, like an orca put into a tank miles away from home, to make way for the Army Corps of Engineers to build the dams and were promised to be able to return after 50 years,” he wrote in his petition to Governor Inslee.

Above: Jesse Nightwalker, right, and his sister Della Ann James Cootes, center, Palus (Palouse) Tribe, deliver a petition, “Recommendation 74,” to the Governor’s Office calling for the breaching of the Snake River dams. Michelle Seidelman, rally organizer with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Portland, stands to their left.

Where there were once millions of wild Chinook, there are now less than 10,000, said Howard Garrett of the Orca Network.

“The orcas are starving. The monster dams are killing fish and orcas, and worst of all, there is no real need for four deadly dams on the lower Snake River,” he said.

Garrett and other speakers expressed impatience with the 45 member task force.

“They’ve been asked to come to a consensus about where to place priorities that are guaranteed to impact, sometimes severely, the vested interests and economic future of their own identity group,” he said.

But also said there were good things in the report, he said, including salmon and forage fish enhancement, toxin reduction and the need for funding and legislation action, and breaching of the dams, someday.

Southern Residents are classified as endangered in Washington and surrounding waters, under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and in Canada under the Species at Risk Act.

According to the task force, three primary factors threaten Southern Resident populations: prey availability, legacy and new toxic contaminants, and disturbance from noise and vessel traffic.

Recent studies indicate that reduced Chinook salmon runs undermine the potential for the Southern Resident population to successfully reproduce and recover.

Both Southern Residents and Chinook salmon populations are adversely impacted by warming oceans and ocean acidification due to climate change.

Presence of contaminants and accumulation of pollutants in Washington’s waters are also linked to the decline of Southern Residents. Key sources of contamination in stormwater runoff remain to be addressed and the potential for a catastrophic oil spill continues to threaten Southern Residents and the entire ecosystem of Puget Sound.

In addition, increased boat and ship traffic has caused greater underwater noise that interferes with Southern Resident critical feeding and communication.

Inslee Statement

In a statement released earlier in the day about the task force, Inslee said that the resulting process “brought together diverse voices from a variety of perspectives, yet all had the same goal – to protect and recover these iconic and endangered creatures.

“These recommendations include the weight of extensive public engagement and feedback. We heard from thousands of people from all over the state, region and the world who are very passionate about saving these animals,” he said.

The task force, co-chaired by Stephanie Solien and Les Purce, will continue its work in 2019. The executive order charges the task force with producing a second report outlining the progress made, lessons learned and outstanding needs by October 1, 2019.

Above: Orcas joined in a chant, “Tell the Corps to Breach All Four,” in the hall outside the Governor’s Office in Olympia on Friday.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Olympia Ice Rink Opens

Above: Skaters of all ages and abilities tried out the new seasonal ice rink in downtown Olympia Thursday night. The rink opens to the public on Friday, November 16.

Oly on Ice Opens November 16

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

If you fall down at Olympia’s new seasonal ice rink, Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” might be a great song to remember. 

The temporary ice rink at 529 4th Avenue West, called Oly on Ice, opens to the public on Friday, November 16, from 3:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Weekend hours are 10:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sundays.

The rink was open Thursday night for show and tell to media, city staff, and the rinks financial sponsors and their families. Plenty of upbeat tunes and encouragement kept skaters of all ages and abilities moving and laughing.

It will be open seven days a week from November 16 – January 6 except Thanksgiving with special operating hours during school winter breaks and on holidays.

For a full list of admission prices, hours, and special events, go to or call City of Olympia, Parks, Arts & Recreation at (360) 753-8380.

Oly on Ice parking is available at the two lots immediately east and west of the ice rink. Do not park at Bayview Thriftway or other private lots adjacent to the rink.

Temporary restrooms are available on site during the run of the ice rink.

The rink is only 100 feet long and 40 feet wide, which might frustrate some, but even Dorothy Hamill, Michelle Kwan, Johnny Weir and Nathan Chen had to start somewhere.

Perhaps the best advice of the night came from Lia Prandi, 17, just one of several assistants on hand to help people get up off the ice.

“When you fall, tuck your hands in as soon as possible so they don’t get run over by other skaters,” she said. Prandi said she learned to skate at Sprinker Recreation Center in Tacoma.

Olympia city manager Steve Hall grew up in the Pacific Northwest and never learned how to skate. He strapped on skates for the first time and hugged the edge of the rink until he was comfortable letting go.

Stephanie Johnson, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation arts and events program manager, demonstrated that she can skate backwards. Originally from Greeley, Colorado, Johnson said she learned to skate on a lake near her house that used to freeze.

Paul Simmons, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation director, whipped around the rink. He said he grew up in Federal Way and has only ice skated about three times but has a lot of experience rollerblading.

“So many people have done so much to pull this off….This is how we’ll bring the community together in the winter months doing something really positive,” he said about the rink.

Above: Jonathon Turlove, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation associate director, left, wriggles his size 14 feet into a pair of size 12 skates, the largest available. Kellie Purce Braseth, City of Olympia strategic communications director, puts on skates for the first time, while her husband Svin Braseth, right, is originally from Norway and has experience skating.

Landin Vargas, 11, of Olympia, had never been on skates before but skated for a full hour. He fell a few times but got right back up each time. His mom, Farra Hayes, skated on the ice with him. She works for Puget Sound Energy, one of the rink’s 40 financial sponsors.

As he took off his skates for the night, Vargas said he was definitely coming back. 

“I don’t get down on myself when I fall,” he said confidently.

Upcoming Special Events

Nutcracker on Ice, November 29, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Get your picture taken with your favorite characters from Ballet Northwest’s Nutcracker cast.

Pride Night, December 6, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Join Pizza Klatch for a night of fun – they’ll be selling wearable glow sticks to light up the ice! Rainbow attire encouraged all day.

Wizards on Ice, December 13, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Witches, wizards, squibs and muggles: Join the South Sound Reading Foundation and the Downtown Ambassadors for magical trivia and prizes. Skate-safe costumes encouraged.

Ugly Sweater Night, December 20, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Skate in your ugly sweater while the Capital High School Chamber Choir serenades skaters with holiday carols.

Fairy Tale Nights, December 27, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Face painting, balloon animals, and photo opportunities with your favorite fairy tale characters from Glitter & Suede Events and Venue.

Super Hero Night, January 3, 2019, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Come in your favorite skate-safe costume and get a giveaway from Olympic Cards & Comics while supplies last.

For a previous article about the ice rink, go to “Temporary Olympia Ice Rink Coming Soon,” October 19, 2018, at

Above: The Oly on Ice rink tent in downtown Olympia is on the isthmus between Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Jones Announces Run for Olympia Mayor

Above: Nathaniel Jones, Olympia Mayor Pro Tem, announced on Wednesday that he is running for mayor of Olympia. The position is currently held by Mayor Cheryl Selby. File photo from January, 2016.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

Leadership and transparency are top priorities

Olympia Mayor Pro Tem Nathaniel Jones announced on Wednesday that he is launching a campaign for mayor of Olympia. 

The position is currently held by Mayor Cheryl Selby.

In a press release, Jones stated that he will restore confidence in the city’s direction and ensure that community members are not shut out of key decisions.

Jones has served as Olympia’s Mayor Pro Tem since being elected to the city council in 2011. He was reelected to a second four year term in November 2015. Among other assignments, Jones serves on the councils Land Use and Environment Committee.

Regarding the homeless, Jones called for “compassionate accountability and effective management of unacceptable and unhealthy conditions” at tent encampments in downtown Olympia.

He also touted his role in creating final adjustments to the “Missing Middle” ordinance which changed zoning and land use rules to accommodate more housing options city-wide. The ordinance was adopted by the council on November 5.  

He also referred to his role in restoring Olympia’s downtown walking patrol and the launch of a mental health crisis response team.

Jones left his position at the state Department of Enterprise Services about 18 months ago to focus on city issues.

Regarding the mental health crisis response team, Jones told Little Hollywood that there will be a city council study session on the initiative on December 4. Implementation of the plan is expected in January.

“Trained first-responders will deescalate and address non-criminal disruptions without police. This will free up police to do their job and provide far more appropriate help to people in crisis. There’s a focus on downtown but the team will be available throughout the city,” he said.

Jones said he will have a campaign kick-off at a later date.

“It’s too early in the calendar for that now - heck we’re still counting (election) ballots. I announced now because I think it’s only fair for others to know what I’m doing,” added Jones.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Chum Salmon Return Home

Above: Reminding us that water is life, chum salmon return home to McLane Creek in Olympia.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

With the month of November comes a reminder that chum salmon are returning home to McLane Creek and Kennedy Creek in south Puget Sound.

Although the salmon begin their journey from the ocean in mid-October and complete it in mid-December, November is the best opportunity to view them close-up and personal. 

Salmon viewing at Kennedy Creek is available only on weekends between 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and the day after Thanksgiving through November 30. 

Salmon viewing at McLane Creek is available everyday.

Thousands of people visit the creek trails to learn more about what makes a healthy salmon habitat and observe spawning and courting behaviors. 

Their dramatic journey is a powerful, moving sight to behold. 

Trained Stream Team Salmon Steward volunteers posted at both McLane Creek and Kennedy Creek this past weekend patiently explained the life cycle of salmon to hundreds of visitors.

Sometimes, they sprinkled in a few friendly jokes with the serious science, using humor to help the facts stick for all ages.

“They find their way back to their stream because of the female, because we all know males suck at directions. Otherwise, the males would be swimming in circles their whole lives around the whole ocean looking for his creek because he won’t ask for directions,” quipped a male Salmon Steward at McLane Creek on Saturday. 

The joke was well received, prompting endless questions for the steward.

Above: People view the salmon from an overlook at McLane Creek. McLane Creek originates in the Black Hills and flows 14.5 miles to Mud Bay, which is located at the southern end of Eld Inlet.

Kennedy Creek is one of the most productive chum salmon production streams in Washington State and is home to four of the seven Pacific salmon species: chum, coho, steelhead, and cutthroat trout.

It borders Thurston and Mason counties with its headwaters in Summit Lake in the Black Hills and empties into Totten Inlet at Oyster Bay.

Normally, the spawning population at Kennedy Creek is between 20,000 and 40,000 salmon.

Spawning adults can produce approximately 30 million to 60 million eggs annually but not all eggs will survive. On average, only two to three individuals will complete their natural life cycle and return to the stream where they hatched.

The salmon normally come to Kennedy Creek before McLane Creek, but this year was different. Little rain this past summer and nearby clear cutting resulting in a possible quicker run off may account for the difference.

The Kennedy Creek trail was developed by the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) with many partners. 

The land is owned by Taylor Shellfish Farms and maintained by Green Diamond Resources. A portion of the property was recently logged.

Rain is supposed to arrive this coming week, swelling the streams, and make navigation easier for the salmon. They don’t mind shallow water, but they need flowing water because it brings oxygen to the eggs. 

The females have a narrow window of time, about two weeks, in which to spawn otherwise the eggs aren’t viable.

Kennedy Creek Natural Area Preserve: For directions from Olympia, go north on 101. At milepost 356, turn left onto Old Olympic Highway. Continue on Old Olympic Highway until you see the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail signs on your left. Go up the forest road, which is now a clear cut, for .75 miles. Turn right into the Trail parking lot.

Dogs are not allowed on the trail. A Washington State Discover Pass is required for parking at this site.

McLane Creek Nature Trail: For directions from Olympia from Highway 101, take the Mud Bay exit. Turn left onto Mud Bay Road NW, turn left onto Delphi Road. Go south on Delphi Road for 3.3 miles. It is open daily. A Washington State Discover Pass is required for parking at this site.

Salmon Stewards say that it is best to leave dogs at home during spawning season as they can spook the salmon. If you bring your dog, keep it leashed and away from live and dead salmon.

Stream Team is a multi-city and county-led environmental education organization. For more information about Stream Team, Salmon Steward docent opportunities, and citizen science activities, go to

Above: An American Dipper enjoys the natural, riparian environment at Kennedy Creek. American Dippers are fun to watch as they bob up and down near swift running water, then dive in for food. While completely submerged, they quickly probe the stream bed for aquatic insects, then hop back out.