Kelly Hilovsky and Jeff Butler greet volunteers at the Big Sky Community Park for a good, old-fashioned river cleanup sponsored by United by Blue, a Philadelphia-based clothing company that sent the two organizers to states across the U.S. Big Sky marked their western-most stop on the Bluemovement Tour. They’re now off to the Midwest. The Montana Supply Company crew uncovered an old dumpsite along the West Fork full of auto parts and cans.

United by our rivers

Philadelphia-based clothing company holds Big Sky river cleanup

When one thinks of community trash cleanups, the words Philadelphia and clothing company don’t readily come to mind. But on Monday, July 16, United by Blue—an eco-conscious apparel company based in Philly—made a stop in Big Sky during a two-month journey across the U.S. cleaning up waterways along the way.

     Big Sky marked the furthest west the crew would travel during the Bluemovement Tour, which took them from the City of Brotherly Love through the Appalachians, along the Gulf Coast, into the Southwest, Montana, the Midwest and finally back east. The trip is paid for via 1 percent of the company’s sales proceeds. 

     United By Blue’s head of cleanups, Kelly Offner, said she knew the team wouldn’t find the amount of trash in Big Sky that they often do cleaning up urban areas (they hit up places like Las Vegas, Cleveland and New Orleans on this trip), “but we were hopeful that the community would be motivated to work together and learn about their impact on the river,” she said following the cleanup.

     The United by Blue team joined Josh Tozier and Alaina Stinson, owners of Montana Supply Company, who sell United’s products at their store. The Gallatin River Task Force was also invited to join in the event, and in all 30 to 40 volunteers came out on a Monday evening, meeting in the Community Park before combing stream banks near the Conoco and along Kircher and Community parks.

     You just never know what you’ll find on a trash cleanup. Within an hour, volunteers gathered over 100 pounds of trash—at least 40 of which was comprised of an old auto part dump site found along the way by the Montana Supply group. It was full of rusty car pieces and cans. Then there were the usual trashy suspects—soda and beer cans, plastic bottles and the like.

     Kelly Hilovsky and Jeff Butler, United By Blue's road crew members, said they were pleased with the event turnout, especially the Big Sky Resort contingency. 

     “We had to battle a late evening storm that rolled through, but the volunteers were quick to adjust and we all met up at Lone Peak Brewery afterwards to give away prizes and have some food and drinks courtesy of Lone Peak Brewery,” they wrote in an email to the Lookout.

     Missed this cleanup but hope to join another? You’re in luck. The GRTF will hold its annual river cleanup on Aug. 30 at 2 p.m. Meet at the Community Park for cleanup assignments, then rendezvous back at the park later for food and drinks. Volunteer leaders are needed to recruit teams—email stephanie@ to sign up as a leader.

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