Reading With Lee Spencer

Another night, another great book event at Patagonia Ballard: So much of the fish conservation work we do involves theoretical, or “paper” fish. We work on populations, runs sizes, escapement goals, and deal with government policies and legal angles. Last night, I spent a thoroughly enjoyable evening reading from and talking with Lee Spencer about his beautiful book, A Temporary Refuge, and a very different kind of fish conservation.

Lee is the guy who, for the last 19 seasons, has stood (or sat) guard over 150 to 500 extremely vulnerable wild summer steelhead as they seek thermal refuge in a cool-water pool of a North Umpqua tributary. You might have seen him in DamNation. His presence deters poachers, who, in the past, used explosives to harvest these fish, earning the pool the local name “The Dynamite Hole.” Lee’s work is fish conservation in its truest sense–personal, specific, intimate. Lee stays, and the fish are not blown up.

But Lee is more than just a guardian; he is an observer, writer and thinker of the highest order. His field notes, taken over the days and years he’s spent quietly watching the pool and its fish, written in clean, deceptively simple prose, make a gem of a book. Talking with him before, during, and at dinner after the event, was even better.

Seattle: Another Shot At DamNation


And this time, it’s FREE! Fresh off even more impressive kudos, like the Audience Choice Award at Telluride, and stellar reviews in Outside, DamNation will be screening at select Patagonia stores around the country on June 5th. Fortunately for us, Seattle is one of those stores. But the film did sell out at SIFF a couple weeks ago, so you’ll need to call the Seattle Patagonia store <206.622.9700> to reserve seats.

I will be there to do a little Q & A after the screening, hang out, chew the fat, whatever. I think it’s going to be a great event for a fantastic movie.

Details: DamNation Film Screening, 7:00pm, Thursday, June 5th at Seattle Patagonia. Reserve seats: 206.622.9700. Cost: nada, zip, zero, zilch. For more info or to watch the cool trailer, click HERE.

Patagonia Photo Contest

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Yes, you could actually win a “rad” trip to hang out with…uh, me. But it’s still a cool contest anyway. And fortunately, the prize also includes a float trip to experience the newly free-flowing Elwha River, a screening of DamNation on the Olympic Peninsula, some other river- and fish-related activities, and time with DamNation producer, underwater photographer, biologist and all-around awesome guy, Matt Stoecker.

As part of the promotions for the multiple-award-winning DamNation movie, the film crew and Patagonia’s photo editors will pick the winner from photos of bad dams or favorite river scenes. For details on how to enter, click HERE. And while you’re on the website, check out the movie trailer and screening dates. If nothing else, go see the movie or download it and watch. It’s definitely worth your time.

And if you win, well, we can talk more as we float down the Elwha or get in the water to look for fish. Good luck!