Brewing for a Cause: McKenzie River Trust

Words by Kelsey Tidball | Photo by Lauren Bruce

There is nothing more “Pacific Northwest” than a good microbrew and a beautiful, natural view. Beer, beanies and hiking backpacks define our area, and we would not be Oregonians without our love for all that was given to us by Mother Earth. Luckily, the McKenzie River Trust is dedicated to keeping some of our favorite outdoor hotspots natural and clean, and you can support them by ordering some of your favorite brews and eating at some of your favorite restaurants.

The McKenzie River Trust is a nonprofit land trust that was set up in 1989 in order to protect endangered habitats throughout the McKenzie basin. Today, the Trust also protects the watersheds of the Long Tom, the Upper Willamette, the Coast and the Middle Forks of the Willamette, the Umpqua, the Siuslaw, and the coastal lakes and streams from Reedsport to Yachats. In total, the Trust owns and protects over 2200 acres of land in the western Oregon area.

The Trust’s primary goal is to maintain clean water and healthy fish and wildlife on their lands. The Trust acquires lands through donation, purchase, and conservation easements which allow them to maintain privately-owned lands. Some of the McKenzie River Trust’s largest properties include the Andrew Reasoner Wildlife Preserve, Bangs Farm, Big Island, Coyote Oaks, Ferguson Creek, Hollyer Prairie and Tenmile Creek.

The Trust offers walking tours of its properties led by local experts in botany, bird-watching, land restoration, dragonflies, amphibians and more. Tours are free, about three hours long, and most of the properties are within a half hour of Eugene. You can sign up for the tours on the McKenzie River Trust website and, while you’re there, you can check out the other events that the Trust sponsors.

For you, supporting the McKenzie River Trust in their mission to maintain wildlife areas in western Oregon may be as easy as grabbing a drink with friends. McMenamins North Bank often hosts “Friends and Family Night,” during which they donate 50 percent of their sales to the Trust. Oakshire Brewing Company, a local Eugene company whose mission is to protect our local water sources, donates 1 percent of all their sales of their Watershed IPA to the Trust. You can visit them on Madera Street in Eugene to try their IPA and directly contribute to the Trust’s conservation and restoration efforts.

In August of 2017, Ninkasi Brewing Company, another local Eugene brewing company that has gained national traction, donated $50,000 to the McKenzie River Trust to support their efforts. They earned the money by pledging $20 of every Ninkasi keg sold in Oregon. “Why?” Ninkasi wrote on their website in a story about the donation. “That’s easy! We love clean water (and our community!).” There’s nothing like a big, successful company giving back to the community in which it was founded. Be sure to stop by Ninkasi next time you have a hankering for a microbrew with some heart.

Overall, the McKenzie River Trust works to make Oregon a better place to live. They promote clean water, happy wildlife and healthy vegetation. They maintain and restore the natural beauty that makes Oregon, Oregon, and without their efforts and the efforts of their partners and sponsors, western Oregon may not be the wildlife haven it is today. So, go out and enjoy more of what makes the Pacific Northwest the best region in the country, and enjoy a beer, clean water, and an impeccable view on the McKenzie River Trust.


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