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59th Annual Yellowstone River Boat Float a success despite historical floods

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Posted at 5:01 PM, Jul 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-10 19:01:12-04

REED POINT — At Indian Fort Fishing Access in Reed Point, many folks were recovering from the 59th Annual Yellowstone River Boat Float. The consensus is the same throughout, many are grateful they’re still able to float after the devastating floods.

People from all over the country came in droves to float down the Yellowstone River. Kody Poet floated the entire weekend and ended up at Indian Fort Fishing Access.

“Been coming to boat floats for 15 years, and I’m from Harrison, Pennsylvania,” Poet said on Sunday.

Poet does the boat float with his stepdad, Dave Nickell. Nickell is tenured when it comes to the event.

“Awesome, awesome, it’s the 59th year, and been on every one,” Nickell said.

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This year’s boat float started in Springdale. Folks floated to Big Timber on Friday and on Saturday, they launched from Big Timber to either Twin Bridges, Bratten Fishing Access, or Reed Point.

“Oh, it changes every year, sometimes there’s way more boats, sometimes there’s not as many,” Nickell said.

Nickell says he saw the number of boaters and floaters dwindle this year because of the floods.

“Saturday’s usually the biggest day and there was only about 120 boats. I’ve seen as many as 300 on a Saturday,” Nickell said.

Indian Fort Fishing Access was shut down for repairs after the floods.

“And there was about six or eight locals, went down there with the crews and helped clean it up so they could open it up faster for boat float,” Nickell said.

The floods didn’t stop first-time floaters like MJ Foote from coming out.

“You definitely got to keep in your mind, but it adds to it really,” Foote said.

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The boat float originally started as a group of demonstrators protesting against the damming of the Yellowstone River above Livingston.

“Organization called the J.C.’s got together, went all up and down the river. Got together and protested, got nationwide coverage, and stopped the dam,” Nickell said.

Now floaters like Glasgow resident Jamie Rennick have an opportunity to explore this neck of the woods.

“We’re going to go back up to Otter Creek and re-float to here cuz’ we didn’t get to yesterday,” Rennick said.

Floaters like Kayla Lane, who now lives in Minnesota, are able to visit their home state without having to worry.

“Such a good experience. I get to hang out with my dad, I get to hang out with my people. It’s awesome,” Lane said.