A short film about a big plan

by Nicky Pasi, American Rivers

Over the summer, the Yakima Basin Conservation Campaign launched www.yakimariver.org, a site that tells the

stories of those of us who live, work, play and rely on the Yakima Basin’s waters. With the expertise of Guenther Creative, we’ve translated those stories into a film, “This River Runs Forever”, featuring Yakima Basin producers, irrigators, members of the Yakama Nation, environmental groups, anglers, Seattle chefs and West-side breweries, interweaving them just as their needs for water are connected.
But every good movie deserves premiere screenings, and so we’ve been hard at work arranging film events on both sides of the Cascades. On September 21, members of F.O.R.K.S. (Fields Oceans Ranches Kitchens Stewards) enjoyed a viewing at the Atrium at Pike Place Market, followed by a luncheon dished up by Orfeo, chased by beer from Fremont Brewing and wine from Sous Sol.  Each of these west-side purveyors of food and drink sources their produce, hops or grapes from Yakima Valley producers like Alvarez Organic Farms and Alder Ridge Vineyards, a relationship that wasn’t lost on F.O.R.K.S. organizers or attendees.  On hand for Q&A were Integrated Plan supporters–and stars of the film–Michael Garrity (American Rivers), Kitty Craig (The Wilderness Society) and Urban Eberhart (Kittitas Reclamation District),

Within the Yakima Basin itself, folks who rely directly on clean, reliable water turned out for a viewing at Iron Horse Brewery on October 20. Locals from Ellensburg, Roslyn, Cle Elum and Kittitas, as well as students from nearby Central Washington University, enjoyed $3 pints brewed from local hops as they soaked up details about the Integrated Plan and called out questions to YBIP representatives.  After the movie, representatives from American Rivers and Trout Unlimited circulated to answer questions one-on-one for those too shy (or behind on their discount pints) to stand up before the crowd.  Also on hand to talk about agriculture, irrigation and partnerships with the environmental and tribal communities were local farmers Ric Valicoff of Valicoff Family Farms and Michael Roy of Roy Farms.

The Yakima Basin produces 70% of the world’s hops, 40% of Washington’s wine grapes, is first in the nation in apple orchards and first in the state in tree fruits, berries and nuts. Overall the region contributes more than $4.5 billion of agricultural output and farm jobs to Washington’s annual economy, along with $375 million in culinary and environmental tourism. Residents and visitors alike value the area for its more than 400 trails and 200 miles of streams and rivers. “This River Runs Forever” acknowledges these often-conflicting demands on the one thing that makes all these outcomes possible: water. Just as the projects supported by the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan reflect the many uses for water, the film presents a holistic approach to sustaining this resource into the future.

Plans are currently in the works to bring “This River Runs Forever” to Yakima, and back across the mountains for a Seattle encore.  If you or your organization would like to host a film event, please contact npasi@americanrivers.org, or visit www.yakimariver.org for a personal screening now!