Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

Tucked in the northwest corner of California, the Smith River is revered as a world-class destination for fishermen, whitewater enthusiasts, hikers and naturalists.

To celebrate this river and the work that's been done to promote and protect it, the Smith River Alliance invites the public to Fall Splash 2013, the organization's inaugural gala and benefit auction, 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Elk Valley Rancheria Community Room, 2332 Howland Hill Road, Crescent City.

It's a chance to enjoy local and regional food and wine and participate in a silent auction offering vacation trips, outdoor gear and artwork - often depicting the Smith River.

The Smith River Alliance has been working for more than 30 years to provide protection, restoration and stewardship of the Smith River watershed.  The organization also promotes the watershed through youth camps at its Rock Creek Ranch facility on the South Fork Smith River, where young adults engage with and learn about the river's resources.

"It is very exciting for us to see young people active, inspired, learning things and having a great time at Rock Creek Ranch and really anywhere out in the amazing wild spaces we have here," said Grant Werschkull, co-executive director of SRA.

There will be information about the Smith available at the event, including how the river is considered one of the best "salmon strongholds" on the West Coast.

Salmon strongholds are seen as having the potential to act like incubators, reviving the salmon runs of neighboring watersheds.

Regional wine will be offered, including Bridgeview Vineyard and Winery, located nearby in the Illinois Valley. Wine will also be poured from Foris Winery, also near Cave Junction, which recently had its wines recognized in "Wine Enthusiast."

Guests can also try nearby California wines: Cabot Vineyards, in Humboldt County near the Klamath River, is the northernmost vineyard and winery in California; Moonstone Crossing Winery in Trinidad has won many awards at the California State Fair and the New York International Wine Competition.

Guests will also be served oysters from North Bay Shellfish, in the Humboldt Bay area. "There will be many scrumptious, locally grown and prepared foods to sample," Werschkull said.

Vacation trips up for bid in the silent auction include adventures like a family-friendly, half-day whitewater trip on the Rogue River, an intense Class IV whitewater trip on the Upper Klamath, a steelhead fly fishing trip on the South Fork Smith River, a drift boat trip on the Smith River through Jed Smith State Park, and a two-night stay at California Trout's Shasta Springs Trout Camp on the Upper Sacramento River.

More relaxing trips in the auction include a stay at The Inn on First in Napa (considered by some the best bed and breakfast in Napa), a private lunch at the Judge Family Vineyard with a pouring and two bottles of wine, a two-night stay at Requa Inn on the Klamath River and a two-night stay at the historic Woodmoor Gables Lodge perched above the Smith River in Hiouchi.

Alexandre Family EcoDairy is offering a 12-person farm tour and dinner, showing guests its operation from livestock to production and ending with a family style farm dinner prepared with seasonal ingredients from Alexandre Farms.

The auction will also have artwork, including photographs and oil paintings of the Smith River and redwood carvings. Cases of wine, a $500 gift certificate from Pierson's Building Center, gift baskets, massages and other items will be available.

Individual tickets cost $25. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, call 707-458-3586 or go to

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