For many people in Montana, the natural beauty of the rivers and streams is one of the top reasons to love this place.

People swim and splash, enjoy the meditative flow of the river from the shore, fish, and float in all manner of watercraft (rafts, kayaks, paddle boards, tubes, inflatable unicorns, you name it). Recreation also brings visitors from all over the world, driving economic growth in the Clark Fork watershed. As Montana’s population increases, more people turn to the rivers.

In Missoula, Parks and Recreation identified 33 separate user-made river paths in less than a mile of the Clark Fork. Heavy use takes its toll on riverbanks, leading to less-than-healthy riparian areas. The reaches that see high traffic—especially where no formal access points exist—often suffer from soil erosion, more weeds, and fewer native plants like willows or cottonwoods.

At the Clark Fork Coalition, we want to ensure river management meets the needs of both people and natural systems. River recreators are often some of the most passionate advocates for the watershed. When we work together, we can maintain the natural integrity of riparian areas and improve access for river lovers of all types.

Giving back to the river you love

Protecting the waterways in the Clark Fork River basin requires an engaged community, knowledgeable champions, and resources to restore the watershed for all of us.