Whether or not they publicly admit it, every angler has a home river or stream — the place they think of first when even the slightest of openings appear on the calendar.
The Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam in northeastern Utah is 200 miles from my front door but it is my home river. My first trip to the Green was roughly 30 years ago. Countless memories of fishing and floating with friends and family on the 30-mile stretch before the river hits the Colorado border fill my soul.
I’m not the only angler who feels this way about the Green and there are many others who have deep connections with the river as it flows from its headwaters in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming to its confluence with the Colorado River in Utah.
That’s why when Nick Walrath, my Trout Unlimited colleague in Wyoming, had my full attention when he recently brought up an idea regarding the Green River.
Nick works as the Green River Project Coordinator for TU. He is based out of — where else? — Green River, Wyo. Like me, Nick has strong bonds with the Green River from years of working on, fishing and floating the river with family and friends in Wyoming. He even wanders into Utah every once in a while to fish the Green.
Nick’s idea was to encourage people who love the Green, and its tributaries, to give back to the resource by picking up any garbage they spot along the river or any of its tributaries. With 730 miles of river, and countless miles of tributaries, there are, unfortunately, plenty of opportunities to clean the Green.
So, the #CleantheGreen2020 campaign was born.
Trout Unlimited, and our growing list of partners, is asking Green River users of any ilk to post pictures on social media of people picking up trash anywhere in the drainage. We hope to see posts from anglers, whitewater rafters, campers, hikers, nature walkers, hunters and even cities or organizations setting up clean up events.
Each month TU will look at all posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the #CleantheGreen2020 hashtag and randomly pick one for a monthly prize from March to December. We will look at all the tagged posts at the end of the year to determine our grand prize winners.
So far, a float on the Green below Flaming Gorge Dam for two has been donated by Spinner Fall Guide Service as one of the grand prizes. Camp Chef has also offered to provide several monthly prizes and may contribute to a grand prize as well.
Wyoming is kicking off the #CleantheGreen2020 campaign at the Seedskadee Chapter of Trout Unlimited’s F3T event March 6 in Green River, Wyoming.
Utah will be celebrating the launch of the campaign during the Wasatch Intermountain Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo being held April 17-18 in Sandy, Utah.
The Clean the Green Facebook page will serve as the main source of information for the campaign. Clean up events, pictures, and the monthly winners will be posted on the page, along with some of our favorite hashtagged photos.
We will sprinkle in some of the amazing history of the Green River and post pictures of the varied landscape, wildlife and recreational users that visit this precious resource. During its 730 miles the Green floats over U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, national monument and national recreation area lands.
Make sure to share this campaign with anybody who visits the Green or its tributaries.
Nick’s idea soon got me to thinking about how many miles of the Green I’ve floated. I’m sure if you added up all my fishing trips from the dam to the Colorado state line it would be pretty close to 1,000 miles alone. If you add up the miles I’ve floated on the whitewater sections (Gates of Lodore and Desolation) along with fishing at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, I figure I’ve covered roughly 175 miles of the 730. There’s still time to add to the number.
Help me, Nick and Trout Unlimited #CleantheGreen2020. You might even win a prize.
Brett Prettyman is a communications director for Trout Unlimited. He is based out of Salt Lake City and currently searching desperately for any calendar opening to make another trip to the Green.