Tell us your clean water story

On June 30 we urged folks to send us their Clean Water Stories.  Below is one of those great submissions!  We urge you to keep those stories coming in.  We’ll send you some sweet MTU gear in exchange.  Submit your stories and photos to [email protected] we’d also love to see your photos on Instagram #30daysforcleanwater.  For more information on our plea for stories read our executive director, David Brooks, post on the the importance of headwater streams.

The Pursuit of Happiness By Joshua Bergan

Headwaters are important. To me, to generations before and after me, and to the fish and wildlife that live on the vital sustenance that headwaters provide.

Recently, my wife and I have spent most of our summer free-time hiking up to and fishing Montana’s mountain lakes, many of which are the headwaters for streams that feed the large rivers. These lakes have become a part of us. I thought that once our project was complete, we’d be happy to get back to floating and fishing big rivers, but that’s not the case. We cannot wait to spend more time at these headwaters.

These pristine mountain lakes are spectacular. They often sport clear teal water that you can see 20-feet into and host native cutthroat trout and arctic grayling – the same species that Silas Goodrich caught on the Corps of Discovery, and that sustained people for hundreds of years before that. These fish have only a small fraction of their original places left, where anglers like my wife and I can find them. Clean , healthy headwaters are important to us.

Aside from the well-documented significance these sanctuaries provide for native plants and animals, they provide people like us with a refuge, a reason to get exercise and get healthy, some peace, memories, photo-ops and ultimately, the pursuit of happiness.

It’s true that there is some economic opportunity up there. We need the minerals and metals that are buried near these important waterways and we all need to make a living. We need to balance these things with peoples’ right to recreation, low-impact economic opportunity, and the plants and animals that rely on these places that have the same right to exist as humans do. It is my strongly held belief that we do not need those minerals, metals, and monies enough that it’s worth destroying these headwaters.

Headwaters are too important to us all to allow protections to lapse.