Rolling Rivers Trailers

The Rolling Rivers Trailer Program is an exciting education tool used to teach Montana’s youth and adults about how rivers work and why they are such an important natural resource.

“Loaded with several hundred pounds of sand and a self-contained tank for pumping and re-circulating water, bright blue utility trailers are ready to provide water education to Montanans. The Rolling River is a five by ten foot utility trailer with a six-inch deep trailer bed ¬†filled with sand (actually recycled plastic granules). A meandering river or two is scooped out, running from one end to the other. Small figures of cows, horses, houses, a barn, corral, a parking lot with cars, and farm equipment is placed on top, to form a simulated village. Trees, foliage and a few rocks line the riverbank. When water is turned on at the top of the watershed, it flows through the river and can be used to demonstrate a variety of water lessons including:

– River energy: Sprinkle a handful of alluvium at the top of the “watershed” and watch it be carried along in the water.

РRiparian areas: With the vegetation in place along the riverbank, the banks remain stable. Remove some of the foliage, and erosion occurs as water cuts into the banks. Turn the water on full force as in a flood situation, and the riverbank begins to break down and collapse even faster. This demonstrates the principles of healthy versus unhealthy riparian areas.

– Non-point pollution: Rain (from a sprinkling can) on the parking lot above the river demonstrates how pollution is carried into streams.

Effects of diversion: Using PVC pipe to create irrigation ditches slows down the speed of the water. Stopping the water entirely by creating a dam effects other changes.” (MT DNRC)

If you’re interested in using one of the Rolling River Trailers for an event, please contact Jessica Makus, jessica@macdnet.org, or 406-443-5711, for more information.