During the 2004 presidential campaign, Democratic nominee John Kerry spent a week at his family’s vacation home in Sun Valley, Idaho, to showcase his love of the Pacific Northwest and its abundant wild surroundings. Five years later Kerry’s Idaho neighbors asked the Massachusetts senator to take a leading role to save one of the Northwest’s most storied wild species.
“We’re asking Senator Kerry to help bring our salmon back from the edge of extinction,” said Andy Munter, one of the Sun Valley residents featured in the video. Munter is owner of Backwoods Mountain Sports in Ketchum. “The health of our economy, our salmon populations and our quality of life depend on our ability to bring people together to take advantage of this opportunity. Senator Kerry is a leader who can make this happen.”
Sun Valley is only 30 miles south of the headwaters of the Salmon River, where chinook and sockeye salmon once returned by the millions each summer and fall. But, with migrations to and from the Pacific hindered by dams on the lower Snake and Columbia rivers, salmon populations have crashed.
The request to Sen. Kerry to engage included an extensive public relations effort that involved video production, press outreach, implementation of social media strategies and creation of a public spectacle at Sun Valley’s Dollar Mountain ski area. While Kerry did not get engage, the effort succeeded at generating publicity throughout the region, and the above photo of Greg Stahl skiing in a fish suit was ultimately published in the pages of Patagonia’s annual catalog