Soap Box: Wild Rivers, Wild Brews


Our blog isn’t usually a place where we take a stance (except when it comes proclaiming our love of beer), but in this case we want to talk about something important to us.  We’ve signed on with the Wild Rivers, Wild Brews coalition.  The group’s purpose is to unify the voices of Oregon’s breweries to support the protection of southwestern Oregon’s rivers and public lands from three proposed nickel strip mines.

The nickel mines would be located on Hunter Creek near the coast and near California’s border, on the Smith and Illinois rivers. These rivers are not the only waterways at risk.  The Illinois flows into the Rogue River, which would be affected as well.  Arch Rock Brewing sits on Hunter Creek in Gold Beach, Oregon, with a salmon stream that would change forever if the proposed mine went through.

So why are breweries getting involved?  First, we Oregonians are protective of our natural habitat.  We’re a state that jumped on REI’s #OptOutside movement by offering free state park access to all the day after Thanksgiving.

We’re dedicated to maintaining what makes Oregon unique and beautiful.

Illinois River

Illinois River; one of the rivers at risk

Second, the primary ingredient of beer is water.  Though nickel is one of the main components for making brewing equipment, we’d be hard pressed to use that brewing equipment without water.   We feel the drive to preserve clean water where we can.  Nickel can be recycled, brewing equipment can be recycled, we can find nickel where it doesn’t damage some of the purest fresh water ecosystems in the lower 48 states.

Wild salmon streams would be impeded, river and creek paths altered, and the effects would be persistent and permanent. Oregon houses diverse climates, a rich microbrew scene, and breath-taking landscapes.  We can’t afford to lose what makes this state great for the sake of another resource.

Thankfully, our state senators have already introduced legislation (the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act) to protect these rivers.  The Bureau of Land Management has also done their part by segregating the lands in question to give our Congress time to make a decision. But our voice is only one. If you feel the same as we do, make sure to contact Senators Wyden and Merkley and Representative DeFazio, and tell them you support protecting the wild rivers of southwestern Oregon from nickel mining. And encourage your other local breweries to join the Wild Rivers, Wild Brews coalition.

OK, that’s it for our soap box.  Happy Holidays!