Dinosaurs with Fins
There is an ancient critter living in Oregon that is pretty well known in some circles. Care to guess what species it might be?
Let me offer you some hints: this species lives in rivers but it also migrates to the ocean. It doesn’t have scales, but it does have fins. It can grow to a gigantic size… up to 18-feet long. It’s also a dinosaur of a fish species with fins whose history reaches back nearly 200 million years!
In fact, you can see them alive and well at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Bonneville Fish Hatchery in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s an Oregon fish hatchery with a front row seat into pre-history. In fact, history so close it seems you could reach out and touch the fish in the sort of place you could linger for hours. At the Bonneville Fish Hatchery’s Sturgeon Exhibit, you will slow down to enjoy the show. A show of fish that is!
As far back as a century ago the state run facility raised thousands of baby fish for release. A time long before roads, so the railroad was the only way to transport baby fish so to reach horse and pack trains that would trek into distant Oregon lakes and streams. These days, Bonneville Hatchery raises 11 million salmon, steelhead and trout across a facility that’s a most amazing park-like setting. Best of all, it is also free! Since 1998, the Sturgeon Exhibit has given up to half a million visitors a year the chance to see a species seldom seen so close. But let Bonneville Fish Hatchery be just the start of your journey to other gigantic discoveries in the Columbia River Gorge.
As you travel east on the interstate highway, make time to stop, learn and experience rich lessons in natural and cultural history at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Wasco County Museum in The Dalles. Since 1997, the discovery center has been the showcase setting and interpretive site for the National Scenic Area in the Columbia River Gorge. The Discovery Center’s awesome entrance will captivate and leave you spellbound.
Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Fridays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.
About the Author: Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.
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