IRU cleans up the Boise River with some musical help

The Infamous Stringdusters after a day of helping clean up the Boise River. Photo by Jessica Murri.

Drifting down the Boise River on a sunny Saturday afternoon, tubers might notice light glinting off aluminum cans, deflated rafts caught in branches, or stray flip flops swirling around in eddies.  But with the help of bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters, we gathered on the banks of Barber Park to do something about it.

The staff from Idaho Rivers United, armed with three rafts, 21 paddles, and a plethora of lifejackets from our friends Idaho River Sports, grabbed a box of trash bags, and headed for the water.  We were joined by the five-person band from Charlottesville, VA, as well as the staff and volunteers of the Winter Wildlands Alliance, the owners of Idaho River Sports, and a handful of other volunteers who heard about the float through the grapevine.  Almost 20 people took part in the float.

It took four hours and 20 trash bags to clean many beaches, eddies, and strainers of the Barber Park-to-Ann Morrison stretch.  It’s the most floated stretch of any river in Idaho.  And the trash is there to show it.  We found shoes, sunglasses, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, glass bottles, beer cans, tennis balls, dog toys, rubber gloves, t-shirts, socks, slashed rafts and inner tubes, cardboard boxes, paddles, sandals, and more.

It was awesome to see so many people come out and spend their afternoon picking up trash from the river, all happily and without complaint.  These are people who truly realize that the Boise River isn’t just the Boise River.  It’s what makes Boise such a great place to live.  Even the band couldn’t stop commenting on how beautiful the river is, how much they enjoyed their time in Boise.  And we made sure they called it “BoiSe,” not “BoiZe.”

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