The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group (HCSEG) sadly announced that Al Adams, founding member and director emeritus, passed away Sunday evening.
“Al was the grandfather of the grassroots movement toward salmon habitat restoration and education in Hood Canal,” said Mendy Harlow, HCSEG’s executive director. “He was a visionary and inspired so many people to see the bigger picture and fight for the preservation of wild salmon runs throughout our region.”
Adams had a long appreciation for salmon and played a hands-on role in revitalizing dwindling runs. Beginning in the 1970s, he developed a residential salmon hatchery to help recover coho populations, which served as an innovative method of recovering salmon, with an educational component for youth and landowners alike. After retiring from the field of dentistry, Adams moved to Hood Canal in 1990, where he and others founded HCSEG. He served first as a board member, then as the organization’s first paid executive director for five years. After retiring from HCSEG, Adams served as president of the board of directors. In total, Adams dedicated over twenty years to HCSEG. His service to HCSEG and Hood Canal continued until his recent passing.
In addition to his involvement with HCSEG, Adams was active with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Regional Salmon Enhancement Advisory Board, the Lower Hood Canal Watershed Planning Commission and other organizations. His service has been recognized by numerous state agencies and Adams was inducted into the Wild Salmon Hall of Fame in 2010.
In Adams’ spare time, he was a gifted wood carver, with works featured at the Salmon Center in Belfair and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s headquarters in Port Angeles, where he grew up. The profits from his carvings went back into the community, funding scholarships for local students around Hood Canal.
Adams will be missed by those who worked beside him in rebuilding Hood Canal’s salmon populations, but his legacy will live on.