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Get ready, the 2017 Free the Snake Flotilla is right around the corner! Details about the event and information can be found here. See you there!

This year’s event certainly will be larger than last year.  I honestly do not know how many. We’re getting a lot more help from groups in spreading the word.   Many more tribal members will be participating this year, canoe families from the upper and coastal tribes in addition to Nez Perce.  We have 35 8th-9th graders and 5 teachers coming from Boise.  U of W Outdoor Program has posted it out.   20 plus Patagonia staff are coming form Portland/Seattle.  We had about 350, 375 people last year.  Earth Ministry is encouraging church members in their network.  I know of at least two pastors coming.  Orca advocates will be out in strong force.  It is going to be a collective of people coming for all over the Northwest, different constituencies, some constituencies that don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything, but all agree that the lower Snake River dams must come out.   I’m thinking 500 people minimum, but probably more…I don’t want to jinx it.

And I have so appreciated the smaller organizations who have donated money towards the cause including individual Sierra Club chapters.  I can’t remember if SFTU has donated this year, but they were incredible generous the last two years, .  And Wild Steelhead Coalition just donated a $1000, with the hope that it can be used to help turn out the angling community, esp. in light of the precarious situation of our wild steelhead.

It would be great to have even more of the wild steelhead advocates, anglers, steelheaders, etc out in force this year and visible.  There will be TV coverage and reporters there, including Rocky Barker with the Idaho Statesman and a videographer.  Rocky’s salmon/dam removal series is likely to run in McClatchy-owned newspapers nation-wide.

I would welcome your help and ideas.  I’m going to reach out to FFF folks I know, work TU, talk to our SOS sportfishing board members (who are on this email here!)  and others.  It has been a crazy month with Cathy’s McMorris-Rodger’s bill , the bad returns news, etc, and we could use help spreading the word!  Some places I could use help (and I welcome your ideas too):

1.  Chapter, organizational email action alerts:  Can you send to your org’s list?  Will you send to your personal friends and fishing contacts?  I have draft alert language, photos.  You can link to the SOS alert or do your own.

2.  Forward out the Free the Snake Flotilla Facebook event.  Encourage people to attend.

3.  Posters/post cards:  I have posters and postcards.  Have a few places you can post them up?  Local flyshops, coffee shops?  Leave some postcards?  I can email you the posters/post cards and you can print a few out.  Or I am happy  mail some to you.  If you are in the Spokane area I will personally deliver them.

4.  Come to the Flotilla.  Bring your organization’s banner.  Let me know if you will be there representing.  I will be sending a list of organizational contacts and spokespeople who will be attending to Rocky Barker and the other media that will be there.

5.  Business support:  It would be huge if fly fishing and outdoor businesses would post out the event and encourage people to come.  Patagonia is helping.  Mountain Gear here in Spokane is dialing it out on social media.  We need to reach out to more businesses to engage.  I haven’t had as much bandwidth on that piece of it in the past month and I’m kicking myself a bit.   Can any of you here help with that piece of it?

6.  Boats!!  I could really use some more motor boats, jet boats!  Maybe some of the WSC money can go towards helping offset gas/travel expenses for those of you willing to haul a boat?  We need motor boats to carry media and video cameras; to carry safety gear, extra clothes, water snacks;  to help if there is a capsize; and to help unfurl the giant Free the Snake banner.  We have people coming who don’t have their own boats who we would really like to get on the water.  Please let me know if you can help with this.

For those of you who haven’t attended before:  we keep the event positive.  It is not an “angry protest” although we have a lot to feel angry, depressed about.  It’s a fun, educational event that makes a point, with people from all corners of the PNW and walks of life coming together on the river.   In the past two years, it’s been an opportunity for people from the Westside who care about salmon, to actually experience the lower Snake River for the first time.   Last year we targeted Jay Inslee.  We reached 2 million people on Facebook with a live video feed, got national media and inspired new activists, and lots of younger activists.

This year our focus will be on steelhead and Cathy McMorris Rodger’s bill H.R,. 3144 trying to supersede Judge Simon’s ruling, the EIS process and increased spill.  We are working to get other members of the NW delegation to push back and oppose the bill and this will event will help demonstrate the public opposition.  We could see mark up of the bill in committee by mid-September.

Share your ideas.  Let me know how you might help.  Email or call me.

Best Fishes,

Sam Mace

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