On Sunday, July 23, an opinion piece by David Kinker was printed in the Bend Bulletin. Because of David’s extensive river guiding experience and love of painting the river landscape plein air, he is a perfect spokesman for our precious rivers and Sen. Ron Wyden’s River Democracy Act. The article is reprinted here:
I’ve been a river guide for over 30 years on 15 different rivers, but earlier this spring, I had my first opportunity to take a multi-day river trip down the North Fork of the John Day. This wild river cuts through the mountains of northeast Oregon and is home to the best salmon and steelhead habitat remaining in Oregon. Along the way, we witnessed bald eagles soaring up and down the canyon, endured cold, rainy mornings, and enjoyed sunny days. I have paddled the Owyhee, Deschutes, Illinois and North Santiam rivers this spring. During my life, I have spent too many days to count floating down rivers and falling asleep on their banks.
Nonetheless, each trip and each day spent on the water is just as exciting as the first. These days, I am a landscape painter, and my favorite place to break out the brush and palette is alongside a wild river.
Through these experiences, I have developed a deep appreciation for our water systems, from the smallest spring-fed streams to the raging rivers rushing with snowmelt. These waterways are essential fish and wildlife habitat, provide clean drinking water to our communities, drive local tourism and the recreation economy, and present opportunities for Oregon families to paddle, hike, camp, fish, hunt, and (if you’re like me) paint amongst beautiful landscapes.