Bitter Root Water Forum makes cleaning river easy with reusable bag stands
‘Clean up All Year’ initiative encourages residents & visitors to keep a handle on their trash and to help pick up litter during their river visits. The Bitter Root Water Forum provides reusable trash bags at 24 stations from Lolo to Darby. Pick up yours today to help keep our river clean.
The Bitter Root Water Forum has opened the fifth year of its ‘Clean Up All Year’ program. Twenty-four wooden stands, each holding up to 50 reusable trash bags are stationed at fishing access sites, public parks, and at local businesses from Lolo to Darby. Residents and visitors alike can pick up a free bag before their next trip to the river and use it to hold their own trash or fill it with litter they find as they enjoy their visit. Once the bag is filled, litter can be disposed at home or another legal dumpsite. Bag-users are encouraged to keep and reuse their bag to reduce waste. The bag stations will be open all Spring and Summer and will be refilled continually with fresh bags, donated by Bitterroot Disposal.
The intention of the ‘Clean Up All Year’ program is to make it easy for all types of river visitors and users to keep this shared space clean. Kids, adults, runners, walkers, anglers, birders, floaters, photographers, and many other natural area visitors can help clean up the river during their visit. The Clean Up All Year program is an extension of the annual River Clean Up event hosted by the Bitter Root Water Forum, where community volunteers dedicate a day to cleaning up dozens of sites across the Bitterroot River. In 2021, the annual River Clean Up collected over 2,000 pounds of trash from the Bitterroot river.
Some of the local businesses hosting Clean Up All Year bag stations include Freestone Fly Shop, Bob Wards, and the Bitter Root Brewery. “Bitter Root Brewing loves being a part of our local community. We value partnering with amazing organizations like the Water Forum that work so hard to maintain the wonderful things we all love about the Bitterroot,” says Nicol Musburger, from Bitter Root Brewing, “we are so glad to be hosting a Clean Up All Year station this year so people can drop in for a beer or fill up their growler and leave with a bag before they hit the river.”
Other bag station locations include Hamilton’s River Park, Hannon Memorial fishing access site, and John Owen fishing access site. “Given the amount of time they spend on the river, and the way they are connected to it, anglers and floaters can be extremely treasured river stewards” said Jeff Gray, owner of Freestone Fly Shop. He added, “Freestone Fly Shop always opts to host a bag station because the more bags we can get into the hands of river visitors the better. Keeping that river clean is something we can only do if we do it together.”
Many of the bag stations have been ‘adopted’ by Bitter Root Water Forum volunteers who maintain the stations and refill bags. Each stand has written instructions for how to submit a short online ‘bag request form’ when none remain. If you’re interested in adopting a bag stand email Alex Amann at [email protected]
“Because most of the litter in our river ended up there unintentionally,” said Heather Barber, Executive Director of the Bitter Root Water Forum, “we wanted to find a way to create a sense of shared responsibility for the clean-up efforts. We’re glad to offer the Clean Up All year bag stations to help make it easier for our friends and neighbors to be a part of this collective effort for the Bitterroot.”
The 2022 Clean Up All Year initiative is sponsored by Bitterroot Disposal and made possible by the support of Bitter Root Water Forum volunteers and donors.