Friday, April 21, 2017


Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way because you are unwilling to accept its loss. --David Bolling, How to Save a River: Handbook for Citizen Action

Back along the Red River separating downtown Fargo, N.D., with Moorhead. Minn there is a section of river near the First Avenue Bridge where bottles, crockery and other remnants from bygone days can be found when the river's fluctuating water levels uncover them from the bottom or riverbank.

It was the era before landfills and the river was a convenient disposal site. During the community's settlements, after the arrival of the railroad in the early 1870s, saloons began to proliferate on the Moorhead side of the river because Dakota Territory was "dry" and alcohol was prohibited. Thirsty North Dakotans filled the Red River bridges as they flocked to the Minnesota side for a legal drink. A thriving saloon district quickly sprang up on the banks of the Red. To be as close as possible to North Dakota side, several saloons were built on piers and actually hung out over the river.

Many of the empty bottles found their way into the river as local legend suggest, many would drink up before crossing the bridge into Fargo, and tossing their bottles into the inky depths of the Red River midway. It was the case of out of sight, out of mind for many as the saloon business boomed until 1915 before Minnesota's Clay County finally went dry.

Of course, I like to say it all ended there for the Red River being used as a dumping site for garbage. I would like to believe all people today are more environmentally conscious, but as we all know, our rivers are just vulnerable today as they were back then. Trash can be still found today in and along the banks of our rivers.

So on this Earth Day 2017, Outside Adventure to the Max and American Rivers are asking for you to take action and clean up and protect the rivers in our own backyards. We need your pledge.The premise is simple. Every year, National River Cleanup® volunteers pull tons of trash out of our rivers, but by picking up trash you see around you every day, you can prevent it from getting into the rivers in the first place.

Will you pledge to pick up 25 pieces of trash in 25 days? Let’s prevent litter from making it into our local streams and rivers. Add your name here:

Make the River Cleanup Pledge, and share your work on social media with #rivercleanup to help grow our movement.

You are the key to protecting our rivers by setting an example for your community. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do for our rivers together.

National River Cleanup® is a key initiative for American Rivers. Since its inception in 1991, they have engaged more than 1.3 million volunteers who have participated in thousands of cleanups across the country, covering more than 252,694 miles of waterways and removing more than 25 million pounds of litter and debris.