LTE Barber

I am humbled by the support for the Bitterroot River Clean Up.

The Bitter Root Water Forum has hosted this event for six years, getting huge numbers of volunteers honoring the river we all rely on to pick up trash. More than 80 people signed up this year, getting the most “on the ground and in the river” coverage ever. People went up the East and West Forks all the way to Maclay Flat in Missoula!

This community effort brings in loads of trash, from love seats to lawnmowers, weighing in at over 1,200 pounds annually. This year’s volunteers reported seeing less trash than usual. Our goal is to highlight the importance of the river and significantly reduce the trash in it, and it’s working. Though as long as this river needs a Clean Up, the Water Forum will happily round up volunteers!

This event is made possible by great volunteers and sponsors. Thanks to all participants, and our major sponsors: Farmer’s State Bank, Ravalli County Fish & Wildlife Association, and the Bitterroot Conservation District. Thanks also to Bitterroot Trout Unlimited, Fly Fishers of the Bitterroot, and Hamilton Market Place. Each of these businesses and organizations has supported the Clean Up for years and are making a huge difference for our community.

To keep the Clean Up going all year, the Water Forum will work with local shops to giveaway mesh bags for stashing your trash anytime you’re recreating in or near the river. Keep an eye out for this new addition to the cause.

We’re also adding a special Clean Up project this fall – removing an old mustang from the West Fork! If you’re interested in this effort, please visit our website at

Thanks again to everyone who made this year such a success story!

Heather Barber