Summer on the Skagit River, Hydropower, and Fall Runs of Chinook and Pink Salmon
By Emily Pollock
B.A. Candidate in Anthropology, 2013
My summer as an intern at Seattle City Light has ended. It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been three months since I left Stanford for — literally — greener pastures in the Northwest. The only things heralding the start of a new school year are the changing leaves and the completion of my project: a guide to a full day tour of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project.
A summer’s worth of interviews, research, and personal experience have been blended together, printed, and bound into a 70-page tour itinerary and script complete with appendix and some really great historical photographs from the Seattle Municipal Archives. The full-day tour experience of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project starts in Newhalem, the Seattle City Light company town, wanders through Ladder Creek Falls Garden, tours Diablo Lake from Diablo Dam to Ross Dam, and finishes with a complete tour of Ross Powerhouse — the first time non-Seattle City Light employees have been allowed inside the powerhouse since 9/11. The first tours start September 17th and run through mid-October, conveniently timed so that the tourists can see the incredible masses of Pink and Chinook salmon spawning in the Skagit River now.
I came to know the Skagit River Basin more closely than I had ever expected, but I also came to learn a lot about myself. I’ve found that regardless of the subject of study, it is the interaction of people, the social aspect of the job, which feeds my passion and drive to do my best work. I was good at researching and translating the material into interesting points for the tour, but my best days were always those where I was collaborating with and learning from my fellow employees. I also learned that I’m the happiest when I’m in nature (a plus of this summer’s job). All in all, it was a good summer and a very rewarding experience.
And if you're in the neighborhood this fall, I hope you'll visit the Skagit River!
Read more at the Out West Blog for Summer Interns »