The man in motion himself, Rick Hansen, was in Castlegar on Monday for the West Kootenay Juvenile Sturgeon Release at Hugh L. Keenleyside Dam.
“It’s been phenomenal, coming back to Castlegar 25 years later and seeing the incredible enthusiasm and response,” said Hansen. “I was able to meet people that were there 25 years ago and hear their stories about when they ran with me or how they were inspired. I also got to hear what people have been doing over the last 25 years and meet young people who weren’t there 25 years ago and see their enthusiasm and also to be part of this incredible release of juvenile sturgeon right at the banks of the Columbia.”
Hansen, along with several busloads of school children, released young sturgeon into the Columbia River as part of a program designed to help save the endangered species.
“Each one of the kids that are here are making a difference by being connected with the sturgeon and releasing them,” he said. “They’ll be able to follow their story and their journey and learn that we need to think about what we can do to create a healthy and inclusive world.”
Before releasing the sturgeon, Hansen addressed the large crowd and talked about the importance of preserving the endangered fish.
“It was great to be able to thank the people that make this possible,” he said. “Events like these don’t just happen, it takes a tremendous about of partnerships and takes a community.”
Hansen took the time to take pictures and chat with most of the children as well as many adults at the event. He also expressed appreciation for the efforts of workers who were able to build a ramp to the water so he could roll his wheelchair right up to the riverbank and release the sturgeon.
“People really worked hard at this pathway so I could get down to the waterside, so I could do the release,” he said. “Hopefully, that makes people realize that we still have work to do and we can all make a difference.”