Volunteers with nets stretch out across Skeena River rapid section to snag Humpy Run winning cedar-carved salmon. (Contributed photo)

Volunteers with nets stretch out across Skeena River rapid section to snag Humpy Run winning cedar-carved salmon. (Contributed photo)

Kitwanga inches closer to ambulance station goal

This year’s Humpy Run raises close to $20,000

The Kitwanga Community Association is now more than halfway to meeting its goal of raising $100,000 toward building an ambulance station in the community on the strength of raising nearly $20,000 from this year’s Humpy Run.

It’s the fourth year for the run which features people buying numbered tickets for cedar salmon (humpy is the common name for the pink salmon) which are then floated down the Skeena River toward a finishing location.

A team of volunteers with nets then scoops out and calls out the tattooed numbers on the first 12 netted salmon for the 12 main prizes.

The current Kitwanga ambulance station is located in a former provincial forestry building that doesn’t meet current standards. It lacks a kitchen and sleeping quarters.

“Our goal prior to seeking other grant funding is to raise $100,000 locally,” explained community association member Cathy Morgan of the drive to construct a new structure.

It’s to be built on land already donated and a purpose-built structure would also go a long way to building up the number of volunteer paramedics in the area.

All 500 tickets for this year’s Sept. 8 run were sold, said Morgan.

“We had more participants at the riverside event than ever before. The weather cooperated and the 500 cedar fish were dropped in the river at 1:30 p.m. to race the rapids,” she said.

The day featured a toonie toss, a 50/50 draw, a barbecue and merchandise sales to further raise money. Individual and business donations were also made.

The run’s popularity extends beyond the region with one winner this year from Ontario and another from Armstrong.