Our team here at the Skagit River Interpretive Center is looking forward to our opening day December 17th! The walks will leave our Interpretive Center in Rockport, WA at 11am and 1:30pm through mid-February. The schedule changes a bit through the holidays and so we wanted to share the dates and times with you here:

Saturdays and Sundays:
December 17th and 18th
December 31st and Jan 1st
January 7th and 8th,
January 14th and 15th
January 21st and 22nd
January 28th and 29th
February 4th and 5th
February 11th and 12

Additional Dates:
Wednesday, December 28th,
Thursday, December 29th
Friday, December 30th
Monday, January 16th (MLK day)

The walks last from 1.5 to 2 hours and travel along a flat. well-maintained trail. The trail leads into the rainforest, crosses a bridge over a wetland and ends along the Skagit River. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. There will likely be snow on the trail!

The pre-season guide training sessions were led by Joe Ordonez, education coordinator at the Skagit River Interpretive Center. Joe has over 30 years experience training natural history guides and bald eagle educators.

From Joe:
“We just completed our guide training with two four-hour sessions on November 19th and December 10th. I had the pleasure of training an exceptional group of 14 volunteer guides this year. They bring a variety of backgrounds, education, and experience. Most of them live in the Skagit Valley and all of them are nature lovers. We look forward to sharing this fascinating corner of the Pacific Northwest with our visitors this winter.”

A major highlight of the training walks was watching chum salmon spawn in a side channel along the river. Bald eagles travel up the Skagit River to take advantage of this nutritious and easy-to-catch food source during these cold winter months.

As we watched the salmon spawn, a few bald eagles flew up the river corridor while others were seen perched in the tall cottonwood trees. We also saw some bald eagles sitting on stumps and downed trees at the confluence of the Skagit and Sauk Rivers. There are many variables and conditions are constantly changing, so we are not sure how many bald eagles we will see on our walks this winter. But it sure was a good sign to observe the spawning salmon.

Photo credit: Joe Ordonez
Caption: Guides training along the Skagit River