MISSOULA — About 200 people were standing at Allegiance Field in Ogren Park, home to the Missoula PaddleHeads baseball team over the weekend.
But, all of these people will soon be standing here along the Clark Fork River to participate in the second annual river clean-up in partnership with the Clark Fork Coalition.
“We have to keep that protected we have to keep that clean people use it all year long, and I said why don't why don't we do a river clean up,” said Sam Boyd with the Missoula PaddleHeads who organized the event.
Allegiance Field is located right along the river and Boyd decided the best way to do a clean-up was to partner with the Clark Fork Coalition. The coalition's science director John DeArment says the partnership with the team allows for greater community involvement.
“And really I think that partnership with the paddle heads it really speaks to kind of this growing awareness in the community that it takes a community to come together to restore a river, and to protect the river,” said DeArment.
From floating to fishing and everything in between, the river brings people together. PaddleHeads right fielder Aaron Bond supports the clean-up. “I think it's nice to get us all out there and just like do some good for the community clean it up,” said Bond.
The Clark Fork River has become a staple to the Missoula community, but there was once a time when that was not necessarily the case.
“He was turning to face the river and what was kind of, you know, a place you wouldn't want to go back in the day [but has] now become kind of a cornerstone of our community a real asset,” said DeArment.
The event had a variety of clean-up locations along the river and those who took part received free tickets to Sunday night's PaddleHeads game and the funds collected from the game’s auctioned off clean river jerseys, go to the Clark Fork Coalition.
If you are wondering what a PaddleHeads Director of WOW does, that's literally my job is to make you say wow,” said Boyd.
And that he did. The clean-up crew collected 6,000 pounds of trash in the river last year and they were well on their way to collecting a goal of 8,000 pounds this year.
They also have found some interesting things dumped into the river. Last year Boyd said they found everything from a blank check for $100,000 to a kitchen stovetop. This year’s collection may include some baseballs.
“I do hope they find on the ball that hidden river this year,” said Bond.