River Keepers, the Fargo-Moorhead group that serves as an advocate for the Red River, is marking its 25th anniversary this year.
To commemorate the milestone, Bailey Aanenson of River Keepers produced a video about the group’s accomplishments and how they’ve helped change public perceptions of the Red River from being a place to avoid to a place to embrace.
Interviewed for the video, Bob Backman, former executive director of River Keepers, had this to say:
“The big thing River Keepers has worked on as an overriding goal would be the attitude change,” Backman says in the video. “So with the help of many people, I think every little project that River Keepers has undertaken has had a significant impact in helping our community, elected leaders, as well as the average citizen, understand the river better.”
I’ve had the opportunity to work with River Keepers on a number of stories about the river, including the 2000 Red River Millennium Canoe Tour in which freelance writer Jim Vickery paddled from the source of the river at Wahpeton-Breckenridge to Lake Winnipeg. Several people joined him on various legs of the tour, and I had a chance to paddle the first two days, finishing at Georgetown, Minn., if I remember correctly.
Thanks to the work of River Keepers, there’ve been a lot of positive changes on the Red River in the past quarter century. You can check out the video here.