Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery Prepares to Celebrate Its 100th Birthday

(Press release) It has been said that, at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future.

The Friends of Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery have been carrying on a conversation about their concern for the future preservation of the Inyo County landmark for over a decade. Incorporated in 2006, the dedicated members and supporters of the non-profit “Friends”, have worked tirelessly to ensure the great Hatchery has remained a viable part of Owens Valley history, heritage and community.

This year, the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery will celebrate its 100 anniversary steadfastly situated on the banks of Oak Creek, just north of Independence. As interest in sport fishing exploded, the California Fish and Game (now Fish and Wildlife) Commission resolved to build a fish hatchery in a location that could better serve the needs of the southern California anglers. After much contention and controversy Commissioner M.J. Connell chose the site located just a few miles north of Independence.

Connell wanted to build a hatchery that “would match the mountains, would last forever, and would be a showplace for all time.” He got his wish. When the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery opened in the spring of 1917, it was the largest and best equipped fish hatchery in California, if not the world. The 200’ long granite walls are two to three feet thick, with a magnificent observation tower soaring over 90’ in height.

Every August, the Friends of the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery hold a fund-raising barbecue on the Hatchery grounds. The event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Friends, and enable the group to continue their important work of keeping the Hatchery open. This year’s fundraiser will be on August 19 from 4 to 8 pm, with dinner being served at 5:30. The BBQ tri-tip dinner is only $15, children 12 and under only $5.00. A vegetarian entrée will also be available. Everyone is welcome, and an RSVP will better help the Friends keep costs down. To RSVP please call Ted at (760) 878-8393 or email [email protected].

Coinciding with the Mt. Whitney Hatchery’s centennial celebration, the Friends have collaborated with local author David Woodruff to create a book titled “A History of the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery.”

The well-researched book is full of interesting stories and historical photographs, from the Hatchery’s inception to its current prominence in Inyo County history. The book is currently available at the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery visitor center, and other retailers throughout the Eastern Sierra. Woodruff will be autographing copies of the book at the Hatchery dinner in August as well.

Mark your calendar and save the date, for the Friends of the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery fundraiser and dinner, Saturday August 19 at the Hatchery near Independence. RSVPs very much appreciated.