Music. New Belgium beer. Dam busting. Fly fishing. What more do you need?
The night was advertised as such. New Belgium is launching their new Slow Ride Session IPA. Friends of the Kinni are in a pivotal time in tearing down two infamous dams on the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls, Wisc. Music by Gabe Douglas needed to be played. Mend Provisions, being the best fly shop on the planet, was the perfect venue for such a convening.
New Belgium has a history of doing cool shit. They are a brewery in Colorado and Sustainability is their middle name. 99.9% of their waste is diverted, they are reducing their carbon footprint, they are striving to use only the cleanest water and they show you the progress they are making on those fronts. They also partnered with Patagonia in 2013 to make the California Route Lager, an organic beer to celebrate Patagonia’s 40th birthday and recognize their support for the Save the Colorado campaign. New Belgium’s cool shit took a local turn for this event when they donated the $5 cover to the Friends of the Kinni. That’s pretty cool. If you support the environment, I will support you.
Friends of the Kinni will use the financial support from New Belgium and Mend Provisions for their campaign to reopen the Kinnickinnic River. The dams (two of them) currently used on the river are responsible for 1.38% of the electricity in the town of River Falls. That’s it. 1.38%. Deadbeat dam, much? Fishing below the dams, as I have done several times, will show you how much of an environmental eyesore these beasts are. Removing them would allow the river to flow freely once again, as nature intended. You can read more about the dams at http://www.friendsofthekinni.org/.
The pivotal time mentioned is the permit period the city needs from the federal government to operate the dams. Every 30 years, the city needs to obtain a permit and one of those 30-year periods is coming to a close. To prevent the city from allowing 30 more years of an unhealthy river, public support is needed. Need more reasoning to remove dams? Watch DamNation.
Our night of free-flowing New Belgium suds and rock songs lasted until the kegs were tapped and the songs were rocked out. The room was full of good-looking, flannel-donning, bearded men. Conversation hit on the slow fishing winter, dam removal and catching up with fishing buddies some of us haven’t seen since the rivers iced up. Now we just need to wait until the Wisconsin fishing season opens in a few weeks to fish the Kinni and rally in support of busting two deadbeat dams.