People hiking along the totem trails at Sitka National Historical Park on Wednesday were treated to chamber music and Salmon In The Trees decorated by local artists in an event sponsored by the Sitka Summer Music Festival and the Greater Sitka Arts Council.
More than a hundred people took the short hike for the free concert, which featured Sitka Summer Music Festival musicians led by festival music director and cellist Zuill Bailey. The annual concert in the park has been a fun event for the festival every year, drawing large crowds of locals and tourists (both music lovers in town for the festival and visitors off the cruise ships).
Hanging off trees along the totem trails were dozens of Salmon In The Trees, pieces of plywood cut into the shape of salmon that local artists paid $25 each to decorate as a benefit for the arts council. The arts council auctions off the decorated salmon to raise funds for a variety of events it hosts throughout the year.
The Salmon In The Trees theme was picked to show the importance of our local salmon runs to our forests, which was highlighted by a recent book with the same name from photographer Amy Gulick (with essays from Southeast Alaska writers). Since soil in the rain forest tends to lose nutrients with the moisture, but bears, eagles, ravens and other animals help fertilize the soil when they carry salmon carcasses from nearby streams into the forests.