Oregon breweries call for protection of Owyhee Canyonlands

Base Camp Brewing crew visits the Owyhee. Photo: G. KlcoOver two dozen Oregon craft beer brewers from around the state have joined together to call for the permanent protection of the Owyhee Canyonlands. Ross Putnam, cofounder of Base Camp Brewing Company, shares why his brewery got involved and why it's important to protect the Owyhee, now.

In the fall of 2015, we packed up our trucks and make the trip to the remote and rugged Owyhee Canyonlands. Thanks to our friends at ONDA and Northwest Rafting Company, this trip sparked not only our spirit of adventure, but a special location series beer, the Owyhee Canyonlands Wild Ale — and a passion to protect this landscape for all of us.

Simply put: It'd be a tragedy if we weren't able to pass down this pristine and wild place to our future generations. Having now traveled back to Eastern Oregon and the Owyhee several times, I can vouch that there is no place in Oregon where you can find the solitude that you find in these canyonlands.

My passion for the Owyhee is not just as an adventurer, but as a member of a brewery and business. One of the reasons we have so many great breweries here in Oregon is because of our unfettered access to public lands and pristine water. Clean, fresh water is the most vital ingredient to our beer — and it's the same for all other breweries. As brewers and business leaders, our success is inextricably linked to the health of our environment and protecting our public lands and waters is a part of the job.

Ross Putnam, Base Camp Brewing Company. Photo: G. KlcoI'm proud to join with dozens of other Oregon brewers in urging Senators Wyden and Merkley to continue their strong work in protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands. Now more than ever, we have to protect our special wild places — and that starts in our own backyard. The Owyhee is one of the largest conservation opportunities left in the lower 48, and it's ours to protect.

Moving forward, it is incredibly important for us to keep these connections between what we do here at the brewery and these incredible places, like the Owyhee. It is time to permanently protect the Owyhee, not only for us, but also our future generations.

Read the full brewery letter below.

Ross Putnam is the co-founder of Base Camp Brewing Company.