The 50-acre property where the Wishkah Hatchery is located was first homesteaded in 1889 by the Ackley family. The Mayr Brothers Logging Co. of nearby Hoquiam purchased the property, by then a farm, in the 1950s.
Mayr Brothers, which also owned the 2,000 acres surrounding the site, reached an agreement with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in 1973 to establish and run a steelhead rearing program for 10 years, in part out of concern for the impact the company’s logging operations were having on salmon. Due to his experience in both forestry and fisheries management, Terry Baltzell was hired that year to run the hatchery program and to work in the company’s timber operations. By 1983 Terry, who remains the facility manager today as an employee of LLTK, was spending about half his time running the hatchery, and the Mayr Brothers’ investment in the hatchery operation had topped $1 million.
In 1986, the same year LLTK was founded, Mayr Brothers went bankrupt. A group of local state legislators, referred to as the “Coastal Caucus,” secured funding to purchase the hatchery and negotiated to have WDFW operate it. (One of those legislators, Brad Owen, is now in his third term as lieutenant governor of Washington State.) WDFW in turn reached an agreement with LLTK for the organization to take over operation of the hatchery and begin a chinook recovery program.
LLTK’s first landscape hatchery sets precedent for natural-rearing
From 1986 to 2007, Long Live the Kings was responsible for managing and operating the State-owned Wishkah River Salmon Hatchery (formerly Mayr Brothers Ponds). LLTK’s Wishkah staff worked closely with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and other community partners over two decades to support wild salmon recovery, pioneer natural fish-rearing techniques, and maintain a popular Grays Harbor fishery.
LLTK determined in 2006 that the time was right to hand operation of the facility back to the State of Washington. June 2007 marked the end of our tenure managing Wishkah’s salmon recovery programs.
LLTK is grateful for the support of the many community partners and volunteers who have helped to make Wishkah’s salmon recovery, habitat restoration, and community education programs a success.
For more information about LLTK’s management of Wishkah and the programs we operated there, please contact LLTK’s Director of Fish Programs Michael Schmidt at (206) 382-9555, ext. 27, or [email protected]