Nonprofits work to reopen popular river access after garbage, damage force closure

Nonprofits work to reopen popular river access after garbage, damage force closure

News Type: State Source: Missoulian
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A popular river access point on the Bitterroot River near Missoula was recently closed down because so many people were misusing and trashing the site. But a group of volunteers and nonprofit organizations are working hard to get it back in operation.

The Buckhouse Bridge access site, located where the river crosses under U.S. Highway 93 at the southwest part of the city near Wal-Mart, has been used informally by people for many years. However, it’s actually located on private land and the owner recently realized he had to cut off the flow of users because garbage was piling up.

He posted a sign saying “erosion, garbage and surface damage” caused by trespassing had prompted the need for a temporary closure. A pile of dirty furniture, garbage bags and camping gear sits nearby.

“The existing public use was causing damage to the site, and so the landowner was forced to temporarily shut it down,” explained Ryan Chapin, the stewardship director for the nonprofit Five Valleys Land Trust. “There was a lot of garbage and the parking area was being misused.