Between the months of April and August 2021, Missouri River Relief offered boat rides to those who enthusiastically registered for the Big Muddy Boat Ride Series. Based out of Cooper's Landing Campgrounds & Marina, we put aside one weekend each month to operate this program.
During these weekends, registered participants had the opportunity to be aboard one of eight trips. Despite cancelations due to weather, we were able to take 154 adventurous participants on a 2-hour interactive experience. On this trip we introduced them to our treasured natural resource by giving them an up close and personal tour.
For many participants, this was their first time experiencing the Missouri River by boat. Time and time again we heard stories of people who have spent years, sometimes decades, growing up alongside the Missouri River but never having the time or chance to immerse themselves in it from the perspective of a boat. We were thrilled to be a part of these brand new experiences.
We would not have been able to run this program without the help of our wonderful volunteers. Across the four months, 8 volunteers offered their time as deckhands and boat captains.
Thank you to those volunteers who jumped at the chance to share their love of the Big Muddy with their community.
Each month saw a different set of challenges for our boat trips. Each month also provided a new type of boating experience for our participants and crew.
April provided us with a booming start as there were 39 attendees in total. Everyone on board donned their jackets and fleeces to fight off the chill breeze. There is nothing like a brisk spring boat ride!
Photos: To view photos from our April Big Muddy Boat Rides, click here.
The month of May featured overcast boat rides and chilly weather! We prioritized boat rides for Veterans and Military Service members to attend with their families in order to recognize them for their service.
California Island was particularly beautiful as lowering water levels revealed more of its sandy shores.
Photos: To view photos from our May Big Muddy Boat Rides, click here.
The month of July featured hot and humid trips! Due to unforeseen weather, trips for the month of June were canceled or rescheduled for July and August.
July picked up right where May left off with trips up past the I-70 bridge full of stunning views of the bluffs. Eagles, turtles, herons and bugs of all sorts made appearances on these trips.
Photos: To view photos from our July Big Muddy Boat Rides, click here.
August was a scorcher! Filled with families and rescheduled trips, most rides found themselves wading through a few inches of water to get from boat to island. Kids especially enjoyed swimming in the backwaters of California Island thanks to the warmer water.
Weather was a concern on Friday for some earlier trips due to lightning in the area. By midday the clouds had dissipated and provided our trips with an especially magical weekend.
Photos: To view photos from our August Big Muddy Boat Rides, click here.