Power Of The Grassroots. ‘Heroes’ Saving Rivers Around North America

A river cleanup in Tijuana, the relocation of crustaceans in Maine, and an abandoned mill in Rhode Island converted to a city park… the projects recognized by The River Network represent true dedication and innovation in the conservation movement.

The protection of rivers often begins with local action. But small organizations can lack resources to affect large-scale change. For 25 years, The River Network has helped grassroots organizations in the United States.

This week, at an annual ceremony, The River Network recognized five “River Heroes.” As part of a KEEN-sponsored project, GearJunkie salutes these stewards of rivers. (KEEN is a sponsor of The River Network; they have partnered in 87 retail stores to raise funds for the nonprofit and to help support a major KEEN river-cleanup tour.)

These heroes’ stories are below, each one an inspiration — from lobsters and trash cleanups to an urban project encouraging people to paddle and get in tune with a river near their home.

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Managing Editor Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in Denver, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.