The Bullhead City Council has voted to end the annual ‘River Regatta’, the annual event that had more than 30,000 people floating the Colorado River 70 miles north of Parker, AZ every August.
After this year’s event, social media was filled with photographs showing heaping mounds of trash and debris left in the river and washing up on shores as far away as Lake Havasu City. Outrage was directed at Bullhead City, which runs the event, via media outlets and online, and a petition circulated demanding the end of the event.
At Tuesday’s meeting, many citizens and public officials showed up to speak on both sides of the issue, with favoring speakers mentioning benefits to the local economy and tourism and opposing speakers mentioning the environment and damage to property.
The Chairman of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, Timothy Williams, made a request for the City to stop the Regatta, saying that the river was being desecrated, and was joined in his request by the Chairman of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Charles Wood.
With an estimated 10,000 people, the Parker Tube Float is the more established – and smaller – of the two events. Although complaints have been received about the trash left in the river after the Parker event, it hasn’t reached the scale of the waste that has mounted up after the Bullhead float. Still, some Parker Strip residents have raised concerns, asking for more resources to be deployed to deal with the trash during and after each annual Tube Float.
What do you think of the end of Bullhead’s Regatta? Will it make Parker’s event even stronger, or will it spell the same kind of end at some future point? Does this prove that tubing events are destined to end up with unmanageable amounts of trash, or are there ways to mitigate for trash in the same way big festivals and street events do?
Let us know in the comments.