Note: The Kokanee Quest will end Jan. 31, 2019. All passports must be submitted before Feb. 10 to receive the pathtag prize.
The geocache is not at the posted coordinates. Read the page to figure out the correct coordinates to find the cache.
Historically, lower Tibbetts Creek in Issaquah was one of the primary spawning streams for kokanee salmon, based on observations in the 1930s. However, erosion at old mines and quarries upstream damaged the creek and destroyed wildlife habitat and spawning areas in subsequent years. Rainstorms washed huge amounts of sediment into the stream - enough to fill 130 dump trucks each year!
No kokanee had been spotted in the two decades before restoration efforts began in the early 2000s. The stream banks were restored, trees and shrubs planted, and fallen trees and woody debris were added to the stream, which provide ideal kokanee spawning habitat by slowing the water flow, allowing sediment to settle, creating pools, and providing hiding spots for fish.
Build it, and they will come: In 2012, more than 400 adult kokanee were observed in Tibbetts Creek, and in 2013-14, an estimated 167 kokanee spawned in the creek, more than any other stream in the Lake Sammamish watershed. The goal for Tibbetts Creek is a self-sustaining kokanee spawning population of 1,000 to 5,000 adults per year.
This cache takes you to Tibbetts Valley Park, where you can view the restored creek habitat and maybe see some spawning salmon in late fall. If you don't see kokanee here during spawning season, try closer to the lake at the Stream View waypoints.
Also check out the underwater Kokanee Cam, which shows kokanee returning to spawn in Ebright Creek.
To determine the correct cache coordinates, visit the two locations below and answer the questions. Match the correct North coordinates with the correct West ones to get the complete final coordinates.
Stage 1: Fallen Trees interpretive sign (posted coordinates)
How many trees and shrubs were planted here to protect the stream bank?
A. 2,300 = N 47° 32.476
B. 7,800 = N 47° 32.248
C. 15,000 = N 47° 32.325
D. 18,000 = N 47° 32.399
Stage 2: Bridge (N 47° 32.327 W 122° 03.708)
In late fall, you may see spawning kokanee in Tibbetts Creek. (If you don't see kokanee here, try closer to the lake at the Stream View waypoints.) How many horizontal slats are on one side of the bridge?
A. 3 = W 122° 03.633
B. 4 = W 122° 03.777
C. 5 = W 122° 03.508
D. 6 = W 122° 03.412
This cache was placed with the permission and support of the City of Issaquah.
The Kokanee Quest series provides information on kokanee salmon, our local environment, and stewardship of the Lake Sammamish watershed.
- There are nine geocaches in the series, and all the names start with "KQ:" Bookmark list of caches.
- Download the passport and map.
- To get the final coordinates for each cache, you must correctly answer the questions on the cache page. (All nine geocaches are multi or puzzle caches.)
- To qualify for a prize, you must stamp the passport with the ink stamp inside each cache. The passport includes instructions for claiming your prize (250 available).
- A Discover Pass is required to park at the two Lake Sammamish State Park locations.
- Share your adventures with #KokaneeQuest.
Unlike other salmon, the Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon lives its entire life in fresh water. Kokanee spawn in tributary creeks, and their offspring migrate to the lake as they mature, then return to their home creeks as adults to spawn the next generation.
Historically, the kokanee filled a critical ecological role within the Lake Sammamish watershed and was an important food and cultural resource for local tribes. But this "little red fish" has experienced a dramatic decline, leading to near-extinction in recent years.
To address the kokanee's plight, citizens, landowners, nonprofit agencies, and local, state, tribal, and federal governments have united to restore native kokanee salmon populations and the ecological integrity of the greater Lake Sammamish basin. In 2013, this group received an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (UWRP) designation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, one of the first in the country.
The Kokanee Quest is sponsored by the Kokanee Work Group section of the Lake Sammamish UWRP, a consortium led by the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (KC DNRP) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).