Earlier this year we were invited by the North Idaho Fly Casters (NIFC) to participate along with some other organizations in a cleanup of the North Fork. Since many members of our club fish the North Fork we felt this was a worthwhile project. We have a long history of working with the NIFC on projects. Tom McLaughlin, Conservation Chair for NIFC and his helpers did an exceptional job of organizing this event.
Our member Bryan Harman represented our club at the planning meetings for the cleanup. It was Bryan’s idea to put up several banners advertising the event. We purchased two 4’ x 8’ banners and Bryan put them up about 10 days before the cleanup. Our in-house graphic artist Lee Funkhouser created the banners. Even the printer of the banners remarked on the quality of the artwork. The date portion of the banners can be changed so if the cleanup becomes an annual event the banners can be reused.
We had seven of our members volunteer for the cleanup.
Fifty volunteers picked up enough trash to fill up the bed of a pickup.
It was encouraging that pretty much all of the volunteers found way less trash than they expected given that there are literally thousands of people floating the river on summer weekends.
IEFFC Cleanup Volunteers L to R: John Bennett, Bryan Harmon, Jim Athearn, Bob Johnson, Lee Funkhouser, Phil Beck and Jerry McBride
After the cleanup we were treated to a barbecue put on the North Idaho Fly Casters.
After lunch honors were given out for the most unique item found (a doorknob) and the most gross item (not sure what that was). John Bennett and I missed this part of the program because we were out looking for Phil Beck. After considerable travel up and down the roads on each side of the river we found Phil along the highway still picking up trash an hour or more after all the rest us had quit and gone to the lunch. I wish there had been an award for the most dedicated volunteer. Phil would have won it hands down. Not only did he work the longest and probably picked up the most trash, he waded across the river up to his waist in jeans and spent the rest of the day wearing them. Why did Phil wade across the river? Good question. By the time we got back to cleanup headquarters the food and equipment had been pretty well picked up and put away. The cook was gracious enough to pull out some food for Phil so he didn’t go hungry.