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Bitterroot River Clean Up set for Aug. 8
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Bitterroot River Clean Up set for Aug. 8

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The Bitter Root Water Forum is still hosting the annual Bitterroot River Clean Up on Saturday, Aug. 8. It’ll just look a little different.

“From the perspective of participants, the cleanup will actually look very similar to previous years,” says Katie Vennie, the Bitter Root Water Forum’s Communications and Outreach Manager. “You can sign up for your spot, a floating section or walking site, on our website then you’ll go clean up and drop your trash off with us. We just won’t be having the volunteer BBQ. This year people can come together for our river … separately.”

This is the 15th Annual Bitterroot River Clean Up and the Bitter Root Water Forum is still hoping to have a big impact for the River. Most years volunteers pull around 2,000 pounds of trash from the Bitterroot.

“Thankfully this is an event that lends its self to social distancing,” said Vennie. “Since we aim to clean up the entire river from Sula to Missoula everyone is pretty spread out and it’s just the coming together part at the end that we need to scale back on.”

Visit the Bitter Root Water Forum website at brwaterforum.org to sign up. There is also spot to report trash, for those pieces that are bigger or will take more coordination to remove. Trash drop off is from 5 to 7 p.m. at Anglers Roost just south of Hamilton.

“Hosting at Anglers Roost is a throwback, she said. "When we were planning a big 15th year bash we’d wanted to take the cleanup back to its roots. Plus, Anglers Roost provides a better location for showcasing trash!”

The Run for the River 5K a fun run/walk event that the Water Forum hosts in conjunction with the cleanup will also go on, with some changes. The course will be set up and available from 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7, until dusk on Sunday, Aug. 9, for people to complete on their own time. Participants are encouraged to run or walk the course over the weekend using their smart phone or fitness device to track their time.

“We’re working to get it set up on Strava, but any fitness tracking app can be used,” says Vennie. “Having it set up this way will spread participants out over a few days, and eliminate the need for all of the volunteers we usually bring together to make this work. We also thought it was more fun and motivating to have a specific course. This way folks can still run along the river as they Run for the River.”

The course meanders through both River Park and the new Skalkaho Bend Park along the Bitterroot River. Registration for the Run for the River is $25 and is available through the Bitter Root Water Forum website, brwaterforum.org, or the Facebook event.

Participants for both events will receive a Bitter Root Water Forum neck gaiter and coupons for free treats at local businesses.

“We want to thank all of the local businesses who have supported these events in the past,” says Vennie. “With the current strain many businesses are feeling from COVID, we didn’t ask them for sponsorships this year. We hope that people will help fill the sponsorship gaps by signing up for the Run or donating directly to our work for clean water”.

Vennie said that the Water Forum is thankful to the local foundations and organizations who maintained or increased their support this year including the Rapp Family Foundation, Bitterroot Conservation District, Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association, Fly Fishers of the Bitterroot and Bitterroot Trout Unlimited.

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