Sakhalin Salmon Park Sakhalin Salmon Initiative
Sakhalin Island, Russia is home to some of the world's best habitat for Pacific salmon, and healthy salmon runs are crucial to maintaining the island's unique ecology, rural economy and local culture. However, this valuable resource faces many threats, including widespread poaching, overfishing, and habitat degradation. In order to highlight the region's internationally important salmon resources and build local support for and awareness of salmon conservation, Wild Salmon Center is working with the Sakhalin Salmon Initiative Center, a nonprofit organization based in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, to build the Salmon Park. Located on the banks of Sakhalin's Lutoga River, the Salmon Park is envisioned as a unique environmental education center devoted to the study and observation of salmon.
What is a Salmon Park?
The Salmon Park, scheduled to begin construction in 2010, is envisioned as a unique, state-of-the-art environmental education and recreation facility. It will serve as a site for environmentally-themed festivals and events, scientific research, school field trips, children’s summer camps, and general community recreation and education. Several international sites are currently serving as models for the Sakhalin Salmon Park.
One example is Cascade Streamwatch Aquatic Education and Interpretation Center in Oregon, USA, owned and operated by the US Bureau of Land Management and USDA Forest Service. Built in 1996, Cascade Streamwatch annually welcomes over 100,000 visitors, including approximately 6,000 school children involved in formal education programs focused upon forest and watershed ecosystems and their resources.
Why the Lutoga River?
The location of the proposed Salmon Park on the Lutoga River is ideal for maximum use by residents of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk as well as other southern Sakhalin urban and rural areas. The Lutoga is Sakhalin's 4th largest river and provides habitat for several species of Pacific salmon, including masu, which is found only in Asia. Just 30 minutes from the city, the site is accessible by car and bus, and the space is large enough to avoid overcrowding. The Artek Children's Camp, which has a long history of welcoming children from across Russia, lies adjacent to the proposed Salmon Park site, thereby providing access to lodging facilities and utilities (water, electricity and heating). Despite the fact that the site is fairly developed, the natural areas, including a major river and a side channel, remain in excellent condition.
Salmon Park Features
Garchitectural planning and design associated with this project. Gradostroitel recently put together renovation plans for the Hot Springs Complex on the Dagi River, a project that shares similarities with the Salmon Park effort (environmental theme, importance of a river in design, etc). USDA Forest Service representatives involved in the planning for the Cascade Streamwatch Aquatic Education and Integration Center in Oregon, USA will advise Gradostroitel on the Sakhalin Salmon Park plans.
A preliminary model of the Salmon Park has been completed and several architectural options are under consideration, including geodesic dome structures and traditional Russian log cabin design. Engineering survey work has been completed and construction is scheduled for 2010. The future Salmon Park-Artek complex will welcome 10-15,000 visitors annually, including local schoolchildren participating in the SSI's Salmon Watch program, a salmon-focused ecological education curriculum. Visitors to the Salmon Park will be able to take self-guided, educational tours along a hiking path with interpretive signs designed by local artists. The informational tour will highlight the local ecosystem, salmon species and life cycles, existing threats to salmon, and the difference between hatchery and wild salmon. A salmon museum/exposition room will illustrate the global significance of Sakhalin's salmon through pictures, maps and other visual material.
The following elements will be included in the Salmon Park-Artek complex:
- Interpretive hiking path
- Facility for visiting students to attend classes
- Study stations at various ecosystem locations (main channel, side channel, forest, swamp)
- Barbeque station
- Underwater camera or viewing window
- Mini salmon museum and/or exposition room
- Visitor lodging
- Secure parking lot
- Interpretive signage
The Aniva Municipal Administration, which owns the land at the site, has expressed support for the plan to build the Salmon Park-Artek environmental education complex. Unfortunately, due to the current economic situation, the Administration lacks the funding necessary to maintain and improve the Artek Children's Camp. The goal of reorienting the Artek camp toward an environmental theme, thus creating an environmental education complex with the adjacent Salmon Park, depends on finding additional sponsors for the project that can help support the necessary repairs and continued maintenance of Artek.
An interacency working group that includes representatives from the Aniva Municipal Administration, Sakhalin Oblast Administration, Gradostroitel, local businesses, and citizens' groups have completed plans that will be forwarded to the Oblast Governor for review.
Construction of the Salmon Park will likely take place in the summer and fall of 2010. With budgetary approval, repairs to the Artek camp will begin in 2010 and may continue in following years depending upon the project budget and scope. The United States Forest Service will send a delegation to Sakhalin in 2010 to advise the construction team on visitor management and environmental education center design.
Download a copy of the 2009 work plan for this and other SSI projects.