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Celebrating whitewater: Annual Gallatin Whitewater Festival returns

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The Gallatin River flows through the Bozeman and Big Sky area out to the Missouri River, providing an abundance of recreational opportunities. This year’s Gallatin Whitewater Festival, held June 24, will highlight the area’s whitewater resources with a series of events designed to challenge whitewater kayakers, canoers and rafters as well as provide avenues for non-paddlers to participate.

Whitewater events on the Gallatin River have been a staple for river enthusiasts in southwest Montana for nearly forty years and 2017 marks the fifth year of the Gallatin Whitewater Festival organized by Wave Train Kayak Team. Attendance and participation continues to grow annually and the organizers report that with the Gallatin National Forest five-year event permit, Wave Train Kayak Team will continue to expand the festival throughout the coming years.

The whitewater festival extends beyond the day of the competition, serving as a fundraiser for Wave Train Kayak Team’s nonprofit youth whitewater kayaking program.

On the day of the event, competitors can begin registration at 9 a.m., convening at the Gallatin River Trailhead, with the various race events following throughout the day. Races include:

Gallatin River Downriver Race: A timed, two-mile down river race that takes competitors through the Mad Mile.

House Rock Boatercross: A mass start sprint race from the Gallatin River Trailhead through House Rock Rapids.

Community Raft Slalom: An event in which local river guides will lend a hand and a raft to pre-registered teams of five to six comprised of local businesses and groups of friends. The teams and their guides will power their race boat through a series of gates on their way down river.

Kayak/C-1 Slalom: A race that requires competitors to navigate gates on their way downstream from the Gallatin River Trailhead access above the 35 mph bridge near the Lava Lake turnoff.

For more information about the Gallatin Whitewater Festival or to see a full schedule visit or contact Dave Zinn at (406) 539-4333 or

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