Reading 100 Years of the Chinook Observer: Sea Resources, Inc.

Reading 100 Years of the Chinook Observer: Sea Resources, Inc.

Sea Resources of Chinook is a one-of-a-kind school where interested Ilwaco High School students have studied fisheries and the maritime arts. In their course of study, they help revitalize salmon runs in nearby streams.

It began in 1967 when a handful of local citizens realized Peninsula high school students needed a way to learn about the area's abiding profession and resource. As to where to have such a school, the location was a natural: the old Chinook hatchery.

Back in 1883 Chinook resident Alfred Houchen started a hatchery on the Chinook River, and the salmon trap fishermen, wishing to replace the stock they harvested, donated fish (for eggs and milt) each year to provide breeding stock for the operation. Mr. Houchen's creation worked so well that in 1890 the state of Washington, seeing the success of the hatchery and the need for it, took over its operation. The Chinook hatchery was the first in the state, and Houchen was the first Washington state Deputy Fish Commissioner.

When trap fishing was outlawed in the 1930s, there was no more breeding stock to be had and so the hatchery died. By 1967, when the school was started, the Chinook River was a dead stream - no salmon returned to it to spawn.

The program's goals at formation in 1967 were "to foster a program of instruction in fisheries research, sports fishing, commercial harvest, and in other types of marine training in keeping with local needs; to promote the fisheries resources in Washington state and in the United States; to help the local community both economically and vocationally in training their young and help provide local jobs and futures for the community's young people; to enhance the fish runs in this area and to reactivate dead streams."

As to the funding, the founders went to their friends, neighbors, and business associates for help. "Sea Resources has been granted $15,000 by Weyerhaeuser, it was announced here by Ted Holway, president ... In making the grant a Weyerhaeuser representative said they felt that Sea Resources' aims were a great boon for the community and one that will give young people an opportunity never before offered in becoming professionally involved in conserving and developing resources of the area.

"The representative went on to state [that] Weyerhaeuser is impressed by support of the community and also noted other community projects where everyone has given unselfish efforts to further the growth and development of the area.

"Holway said that this grant cleared the way for building facilities needed to implement the unique vocational program for the local high school."

-Oct. 4, 1968

Sea Resources was in business.

"Darrell Mills, instructor of the Fisheries classes at Chinook fish hatchery, and his students between last Friday and ... Tuesday released 101,000 young Chinook salmon which will head for sea to spend three or four years before returning to their 'home stream' [the Chinook River].

"The 101,000 fish, weighing about 1000 pounds, were reared from surplus eggs coming from Big Creek Hatchery near Knappa, Ore. The many eggs were reared by the students at Chinook, under the watchful eye of Mills. They plan to continue rearing fish at this location and hold them for a 1972 planting.

"Mills also informed the Observer that he and his classmen have been planting silvers [salmon] in Johnson Creek, Naselle, and plan to plant, in all, around 7000 of the fish."

-June 11, 1971

The Weyerhaeuser Company made another significant financial contribution in May 1977: "Sea Resources received a financial boost this past week from the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation. A check for $3,000 was delivered to Sea Resources representatives by Mike Bickford, Weyerhaeuser Community Relations Manager, Cosmopolis.

"The grant ... is to assist in the employment of a full-time resident hatchery caretaker. This position is being filled by Kirk Harkness."

The creative and constructive Sea Resources program continues to instruct between 15 and 25 students each semester. As of the early 1980s, students were learning hatchery management, boat operation and maintenance, fish rearing, fishing techniques, welding, basic carpentry, fish culture, and horticulture.


"Ivan Charles Holm [known as 'Bump' to his grandchildren], 89, of Astoria, died on January 23rd at his daughter's home.

Born March 16, 1883, in Chetlo Harbor, Wash., Holm received his early day schooling in Sunshine, Wash. After marrying Miss Dora Haslen ... in Cathlamet, the couple moved to Pacific County where he was a mail boat operator between Naselle and South Bend. He fished and logged in the Naselle area for a number of years. He was a pioneer oysterman in the propagation of Japanese oysters in Willapa Bay and owned the Pacific Oyster Co. of Naselle and later Bay Center.

"Living in Long Beach for a period of time, he later moved to his daughter's home in Brownsmead, Ore. Survivors are one son, Forest of Raymond; a daughter, Mrs. Dale (Virginia) Estoos of Brownsmead; nine grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren."

-Jan. 26, 1973

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