A local fishing tradition is being taken away because of damage to the local ecosystem. Camping along the river at Vernita Bridge during the salmon run has been a tradition for many anglers since the '90s. But like all good things, it must come to an end; this one may be chalked up to a few jerks ruining a good thing for the rest of us. It's said the damage to the local ecosystem is severe, and action needs to be taken. Anglers have driven vehicles over vegetation and paths only meant for walking, made makeshift boat ramps, and have overall trashed this once beautiful oasis by leaving garbage, waste, and visible damage to the area. 

  Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Because of this, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is phasing in a camping ban. It sounds as though not much will be done this year, but anglers will see a bigger crackdown next year with additions of natural barriers, boulders, and signs to block overnight campers. Changes include designated camping areas, a 14-day camping limit, and limited access outside the fall season. The state plans to develop alternative camping sites, improved boat launch facilities, restrooms, and parking. Enforcement officers will ensure compliance with the new rules. 

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  Camp Fishy

I have never been so lucky to be a part of the Chinook run, but I can clearly see why it is such a popular area to fish, camp, and live your best fisherman life. A similar situation happened to me back in Colorado when one of the area's best rivers became catch-and-release only, followed by bans on camping, fires, and eventually motor vehicles. Things change over time, and unfortunately, jerks ruin things for the majority. Go out there and enjoy this year at “Camp Fishy” because it won’t be the same next year. 

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