Ralph W. Johnson Water Hero Award

        Harriet Bullitt

CELP selected Harriet Bullitt for this honor because of her advocacy to restore Icicle River.  We know that, as a girl, Harriet played in the waters of Icicle River, but in 1938 her world changed.  To mitigate for Grand Coulee Dam, the federal government condemned the Bullitt family’s land and constructed a fish hatchery that virtually destroyed the native river.  In the years that followed, Harriet never gave up on Icicle River.  She removed dams, and restored water flows.  Harriet’s courage and perseverance on behalf of Icicle River is well-expressed in her interview “Messages from Icicle River”:

Citizens have to get busy, and initiate change.  Government will respond.  But they don’t initiate things themselves.  … People working for the government expect environmentalists and people who are dissatisfied to give up after awhile.  

Anybody who has made these efforts knows that you can’t give up ever

Something that you think is going to be easy because it is so obvious – this is right and that is wrong – and this should be a no-brainer if you give it a year or two.  No.  Maybe 10 years, maybe 15, maybe 20 years.  It takes a long time.  You have to hang in there and never, ever give up. 

There is no passion as inflamed and long-lasting as someone’s passion for their own home.  This place is an example.  This river and this property:  it is home.  And people will go to great lengths for their home ground. 

It’s a mistake for government officials to think that everybody is going give up.  But they do and it often happens. 

You have to keep at it.  The successes are because somebody did keep at it.  And because we have good lawyers.   You have to keep at it.

For Icicle River Harriet never gave up.  Harriet gave a voice and restored life to a river she cared about, a river that is important to all the people in Washington.  For this, CELP’s board was honored to present Harriet Bullitt with the Ralph W. Johnson Water Hero Award.

CELP Board of Directors:

Anne Johnson

Bartlett Naylor

John Osborn, MD

Kathy George

Lauren Goldberg

And the CELP Honorary Board:

Estella Leopold

Charles Wilkinson

Billy Frank

Fran Wood

Mike Lowry

  Center for

  Environmental Law & Policy

John Osborn photo

Harriet Bullitt & the Icicle River


•Film:  Never Give Up:  Harriet Bullitt and Russ Busch

Governor’s Proclamation

•Joel Connelly:  Un-Damming rivers:  Two who fought for salmon

Honoring Event Slide Show