On our way to the Owyhee, we stopped for parts (trailer repair) and food in Burns. We happened upon the Steens Mountain Brewery. As a former resident of Burns, Sam couldn’t be more excited! They are using local feral hops originally planted by German immigrants. Very cool. We chatted with Andrew (the brewer) about how Burns was doing. He noted a familiar tension between people wanting to move towards a recreation/tourism economy and people who were waiting for a return of the extractive industries. For instance, his father (a former US Fish & Wildlife employee) was organizing the first “gravel grinder” bike race in the area. They’ve received tons of interest, even internationally. The race, which would be held on public land, could become a significant tourist draw for the area.
We also chatted about the Malhuer occupation and what it is like to have 300 armed militia men terrorize your town.