Besides skunk cabbage and snowmelt, spring in Juneau also signifies the return of salmon and derby participants in pursuit.
The annual Spring King Salmon Derby officially begins Saturday and runs for the entire month of May. As in past years, the prizes are many and range from cash to gift certificates, and money raised will be put toward the Alumni Scholarship Assistance Program which provides annual scholarships to all those enrolled in the program. In 2008, for instance, 68 students received $365 each.
This year's top prize donation topped out at $2,000 and came from Edward K. Thomas, the newly elected Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska president, and his wife Catherine who wanted to honor the memory of Dr. William Demmert, Jr. A former Juneau resident, Demmert worked for many years as an adjunct professor of education at Western Washinton University
Thomas' donation is one of many going to the participant to weighs in the heaviest king salmon during the derby. First prize this year will take home just over $10,000 in cash and prizes. Some of the highlights include a $699 gift certificate to Pearson's Pond Luxury Inn and Spa and a certificate for two Alaska Airlines mileage tickets.
Tickets are currently on sale for $35 at the Alaskan & Proud To Be market, Harri Plumbing & Heating, Western Auto Marine, Rayco Sales and DeHart's Auke Bay Store.
And while derby participants have mostly fish on the brain, the event is goes beyond herring and down-riggers.
Donated fish will be provided to elders and handicapped individuals. Additionally, the Juneau Raptor Center, a local nonprofit specializing in the rehabilitation and rescue of birds, is requesting fish heads. For more information on how to donate, call 586-8393.
And it's easy to keep tabs on the derby. Daily and final standings can be found on the derby website. Also, KINY will be on air every Monday beginning at 7:45 a.m., to report on the happenings of the event. Updates and photos will can also be found at juneauempire.com.
Contact Outdoors editor Abby Lowell at 523-2271.