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Vanessa Ball | 09.21.2016

Bull Run/Little Sandy Watershed Adventures | McKenzie/Upper Deschutes Watershed Adventures | Bear Creek/Nicolai-Wickiup Watershed Adventures

In Oregon, good beer is a cultural staple. But to make good beer, Oregon breweries first need good clean water. Enter the Oregon Brewshed® Alliance, which works to protect watersheds and water quality while making good beer in the process. Breweries and allies across the state educate the community about threats to clean water by brewing specialty beers, holding fundraisers, and even sponsoring brewshed hikes. 

Why do we care about watersheds? Watersheds scorn the typical boundaries imposed by a map, overlaid on public and private land alike. Easy management of a typical watershed is prevented by the scale of the area in question. Defined by the mountains, ridges, and drainages where water begins flowing downhill, a watershed gathers runoff and precipitation, funneling it into larger and larger rivers. Small streams form their own miniature watersheds, and these tiny waterways join larger rivers further downstream. In Oregon, two-thirds of all public drinking water comes from surface waters like these, originating largely in our state and federal forests.

In the Portland metro area, the Bull Run Watershed is the primary drinking water supply, keeping over 950,000 customers hydrated. Two reservoirs store more than 17 billion gallons of water flowing from a mere 120 square miles of land. The majority of this land is federal property, with only 4% owned by the City of Portland. 

According to the Eugene Water & Electric Board, forested watersheds produce better water quality than any other surface water source. Oregon Brewshed® Alliance and Oregon Wild are working to protect these forests and to ensure clean water for Oregon's growing population. Every brewery listed is an Oregon Brewshed® Alliance member. To taste some of the awesome beers being created by these breweries, pick an adventure near one of the watersheds listed below and cruise over to a nearby brewery. You won't be disappointed!

Photo courtesy of Coalition Brewing.

Bull Run/Little Sandy Watershed Adventures

Brewshed® Alliance Partners Nearby


Photo courtesy of GoodLife Brewing.

McKenzie/Upper Deschutes Watershed Adventures

Brewshed® Alliance Partners Nearby


Photo courtesy of Widmer Brothers Brewing.

Good drinks don't disappear once you leave the major metropolitan areas. Travelers to the ocean beaches have no need to remain parched. Tasty beers in Astoria and Coos Bay can quench any beach-goer's thirst after a long day in the wind and sun of the Oregon coast. Whether you pick up a growler to enjoy around the campfire or stop in to the brewery at the end of your adventures, plenty of good beer awaits.

Bear Creek/Nicolai-Wickiup Watershed Adventures

Brewshed® Alliance Partners Nearby


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Oregon Wild works to protect and restore Oregon's wildlands, wildlife and waters as an enduring legacy for all Oregonians. Founded in 1974, Oregon Wild has been instrumental in securing permanent legislative protection for some of Oregon's most precious landscapes, including nearly 1.7 million acres of Wilderness, 95,000 acres of forests in Bull Run/Little Sandy watersheds (to safeguard the quality of Portland's water supply) and almost 1,800 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers. 

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