Keeping the local forks of the Gallatin trash free with Lone Peak in the background.
Words and Photo: Shane Stalling, GRG Staff
This past Monday in Big Sky, Montana had smoke free skies, perfect summer temperatures and an incredible turnout of volunteers to help The Gallatin River Task Force pickup trash in and along the Gallatin River, its access points and local tributaries. Last years cleanup had between 5-10 volunteers, and this year over 30 people showed up to help preserve the beauty of the Gallatin River, and keep the pristine water flowing north towards the Missouri River.
Like many of this years volunteers, this was my first time helping with any type of river cleanup. I have blown off past river conservation by being "too busy", "too lazy" or by selfishly going fishing. Maybe because I am getting older and somewhat wiser (some may argue), I have come to realize that all relationships, whether between humans or nature, require an equal balance of giving and taking. Rivers like The Gallatin enable us to create amazing experiences, memories, and for many of us in Big Sky, jobs that pay the bills. When you look at the big picture, sacrificing one or two afternoons of fishing a year isn't really asking that much. I am glad that I did, and the attitude of every other volunteer was overwhelmingly the same. Included with the bags of trash were old bed frames, lamps, coils of barbed wire, golf balls and other random irresponsibly dumped items. Lots of trash is ultimately being saved from ending up downstream in the Gallatin Valley, Missouri river, and in theory the Mississippi and Gulf of Mexico.
The Gallatin River Task Force should be very proud of all of their recent growth within Big Sky. The increase in community awareness and involvement can be seen in the massive increase in turnout for this years cleanup. It was great to see so many selfless people use their valuable free time to give back to the Gallatin.
Thanks again to The Gallatin River Task Force for organizing events like these and feeding all the volunteers with delicious BBQ and beer from Lone Peak Brewery at the end of the day. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram on on the web at www.bluewatertaskforce.org to keep up to date on upcoming events