On Wednesday, August 1st, a group of 20 ultra-runners trekked through the 50-mile width and over 4,000-foot depth of the Columbia River Gorge to support the Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge Campaign. The run was organized by some amazing individuals who felt passionate enough about the issue to use their physical endurance to raise awareness about Nestlé’s plans to bottle and sell water from the Gorge. They believe the Gorge is a sacred place and should be protected from the exploitation of the water-bottling giant.
The runners began their trip at approximately 7:00 am in Cascade Locks and followed the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon up to the Chinedere Mountain. As they came back through Cascade Locks, a group of 40 supporters was there to cheer on their efforts near the Bridge of the Gods. The runners took a short break to have their pictures taken with the supporters holding signs and a 40-foot “Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge” banner discuss the issue with their allies, refuel on some snacks and refreshing tap water before heading back up the Washington side of the Gorge to the summit of Table Mountain. The run ended in Cascade Locks around 7:30 pm and the ultra-runners, along with some of the supporters, gathered in Stevenson Washington to celebrate their feat.
Run participants also sought to raise awareness about the many products owned by Nestlé including two running staples: bottled water and PowerBar. Bringing their own water, which they occasionally filled up in the springs of the Gorge, they proved that bottled water is, indeed, unnecessary for major run events.
The Keep Nestlé out of the Gorge Coalition hopes to continue supporting unique efforts by Oregonians opposing Nestlé’s water bottling plans. Groups will continue targeting Governor Kitzhaber, demanding that he put a stop to the potential giveaway of Oregon’s water.