Beck’s Mill Cave provides the water to power Beck’s Mill and is the downstream outlet of the Click Cave system. This cave is an important source of clean water to Blue River as evidenced by the rare cave animals living in the cave; including the Blue River cave millipede and the Northern cavefish. When the Beck’s Mill Cave spring was dammed to provide the power for the Beck’s Mill water wheel it provided additional cavefish habitat by creating deep water pools in the cave stream.
The Blue River is defined by the clean, cold cave streams that flow from the surrounding hills into the river. Ensuring that the cave streams flowing to Blue River remain unpolluted is a priority for The Nature Conservancy. Communities along Blue River share a concern for the Blue’s natural resources, some with a similar goal of clean water and some with different interests, such as the Friends of Beck’s Mill.
The Friends of Beck’s Mill formed in 2005 to save the dilapidated mill, the last of its kind, along Blue River. The mill and 14 acres were donated by the Anderson family, descendants of the Beck’s. The Friends of Beck’s Mill restored the mill and developed hiking trails on the grounds proving that they were up for the task of stewardship. So in 2011, the Andersons donated an additional 94 acres of forest to the Friends group. Their combined efforts restored an important piece of Washington County history and also conserved clean water in the process.
Beck’s Mill is 6 miles southwest of Salem in the village of Beck’s Mill. It is a lovely drive to reach the site and one cannot miss the rolling topography and cave-influenced landscape that defines the Blue River. A visit to this site will inspire and leave you with no mistake as to why the Beck family chose to settle here over 200 years ago. Please support The Friends of Beck’s Mill by visiting the site and by participating in their upcoming race The Grind.