In the tradition of Mountains Beyond Mountains and The Orchid Thief, Stronghold is Tucker Malarkey’s gripping account of one man’s determination to protect the world’s last bastion for wild salmon. From a young age, Guido Rahr was a misfit among his family and classmates, preferring to spend his time in the natural world, on his family’s land on the Deschutes River in Oregon. Over the years, as he became an expert fly fisherman, he noticed that each year fewer salmon were returning to their place of birth to spawn, and set out to learn why. What he discovered alarmed him; as dams, industry, and climate change made the river homes of these fish became increasingly inhospitable. The salmon of the Pacific Rim seemed destined for extinction.
An improbable and inspiring story, Stronghold takes us on a wild and at times dangerous adventure—from Oregon to Alaska to one of the world’s last remaining salmon strongholds, in the Russian Far East—a landscape of ecological richness and diversity that is rapidly being developed for oil, gas, minerals, and timber. As Rahr befriends and navigates scientists, conservationists, corrupt officials, Russian oligarchs, unexpected allies, and impenetrable bureaucracies, he reveals the astonishing natural history of the endangered salmon, an extraordinary species whose demise will reverberate across the planet. And he sets into motion a plan that can secure their survival.
Tucker Malarkey, who accompanies Rahr to the Russian wilderness, has written a clarion call for a sustainable future, a beautiful and riveting account of a species whose future is closely linked to that of our own.