Almost ninety volunteers crowded the Big Sky Community Park to pick up trash on a rainy September day. Young and old, alone and in groups, these dedicated river lovers arrived to do something special…to leave our river cleaner than they found it.
“We were simply blown away by our community,” remarked Task Force Education and Communications Coordinator, Stephanie Lynn. “Together, we removed about half a ton of trash from the Gallatin River and streams in the Big Sky area”.
Designated cleanup leaders brought a crowd to the cleanup by recruiting their friends and colleagues to volunteer. Teams of volunteers represented a diverse suite of community organizations and businesses that included the Big Sky Christian Fellowship, RESPEC Consulting, the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, Denise Albrecht for HD64, and the Lone Peak High School freshman class.
Apart from the sheer volume of trash, volunteers returned with a cornucopia of interesting items. Mike Richter, Task Force board member, unearthed a fly fishing net and walked away with the most unique item award, a Task Force hat.
One of the unique items happened to be a lost, but treasured, possession of one of our volunteers. A team assigned to the mainstem Gallatin found a homemade PVC pipe wading staff, which they placed on display with other one-of-a-kind pieces of garbage.
When another volunteer returned from picking up Lake Levinsky, he was pleased and nonplussed to find the wading staff he had lost earlier in the summer on display. He had given up on the staff and fashioned a new one. After the cleanup, he returned home with not one, but two, wading sticks.
After their hard work, the volunteers admired the impressive, collective pile of trash over delicious RiverHouse barbecue and sides donated by Roxy’s Market and Deli.
The 2018 river cleanup would have been possible without the hard work of cleanup leaders: Beth Sirr, Ennion Williams, Brian Van Eps & the Big Sky Christian Fellowship, Rick Donaldson, Mike & Jodi Richter, JeNelle Johnson, Mike Rotar & RESPEC, Caitlin Lundin & the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, Mark & Pam McCurley, Michael Pitcairn, Jill Joyce & Albrecht for HD64, and Kate Eisele & Lone Peak High School and the support of: Big Sky Resort Area Tax District, L & L Site Services, Lone Peak Brewery, Lone Mountain Ranch, Roxy’s Market and Deli, Steele Pressed Juice, Big Sky School District #72, Geyser Whitewater, Arthur M. Blank Foundation, and Compass Café by Sola.