On Saturday, August 13 roughly 100 volunteers helped the Bitter Root Water Forum clean over 100 miles of Bitterroot River, covering the West Fork, Main Stem, and sections of the East Fork. Approximately 2000 pounds of trash were collected this year, with a significant portion of weight coming from several tires and metal scraps.
“The Water Forum was so grateful to see our Bitterroot community come together for our beautiful River this weekend – we couldn’t have achieved this successful Clean Up without such generous support from dozens of local businesses, event sponsors, donors, our brewery partners, and of course our volunteers,” said Alex Ocañas, Community Engagement Coordinator with the Water Forum.
“We were equally thrilled to hear
so many reports of clean river stretches, evidently taken care of by thoughtful community members all year long. One group of volunteers floated eight miles of river and could only manage to find one nickel-sized piece of litter,” said Ocañas.
In 2017 the Water Forum started the Clean Up All Year program, sponsored by Bitterroot Disposal, which provides re-usable river cleanup bags to river recreationists at local businesses, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks fishing access sites, and city parks across the valley. Each year 5,000 of these bags are taken and used to contain trash and clean up litter from our Bitterroot River.
Doug Nelson, River Clean Up volunteer, said, “Now I know a lot of the old timers will tell you the trash hauling used to be much better in past years. And they’re probably right… There used to be plenty more. I suppose we have organizations like the Bitter Root Water Forum to thank for the popularity of Clean Up and for the decrease of trash in our rivers. And I’m thankful for them.”
The Bitter Root Water Forum would like to thank the event sponsors: Bitterroot Conservation District, Fly Fishers of the Bitterroot, Bitterroot Trout Unlimited, Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association, Bitter Root Brewing, Bitterroot Disposal, Brigand Taphouse and Brewery, Clearwater Credit Union, Farmers State Bank, Evans Ace Hardware, Payne West Insurance, Triple Creek Ranch, First Security Bank, TrailWest Bank, Geum Environmental Consulting.