Each year the Bitter Root Water Forum hosts the Bitterroot River Clean Up the second Saturday of August.
The clean up is a Bitterroot tradition that plays an important role in protecting the resource we all rely on. Spurred by this event, the Bitter Root Water Forum started the “Clean Up All Year” initiative. This program expands the one day event into a year round effort to keep our rivers and streams clean.
“We’ll have reusable trash bags available throughout the valley that folks can take with them when they head out on the river,” says Heather Barber, Bitter Root Water Forum Executive Director. “It’s important to get these bags into people’s hands before they hit the water so they have somewhere to put their trash while they’re out.”
After a successful kick-off last summer, the Water Forum plans to have another successful clean up season this year. Bag stands and reusable bags will once again be available at local businesses across the Bitterroot Valley by the end of April. The bags are free for the public to use to collect their own trash as well as any additional trash they may come across.
If you don’t see bags at a location where they were last year, be sure to check the closest fly shop instead. Changes are being made to where bags are placed to ensure they’re being used for the intended purpose of collecting trash around the River.
The Forum is also suggesting that people highlight their participation by sharing pictures of themselves using the bags with the hashtag #BitterrootRiverCleanUp and tagging @brwaterforum. Program evaluations and improvements are intended to increase the positive impact of the program over time.
“The river clean up is an event we look forward to every year,” Barber said. “It brings people together for the common cause of giving back to the river that gives us so much. However, each year volunteers continue to pull over 2,000 pounds of trash from the river, which is why we need to get reusable cleanup bags in people’s hands before they head out to the river. With a bit of effort and having people more engaged with the Clean Up All Year we can make an even greater impact in the long run.”
The Bitter Root Water Forum is a community driven nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the traditions of agriculture, community and recreation by protecting, enhancing and restoring the Bitterroot watershed through on the ground projects and watershed education.