Row Row (Don't) Row Your Boat...

One of the iconic parts of Summer along the Missouri River is the Lewis and Clark Riverboat.  Whether you're enjoying a cruise with family and friends or on a work related event or just on one of their dinner or social cruises, it's part of the fabric of our river.  If you're sitting on the Bismarck or Mandan shores of the Missouri, on a sandbar or on a boat, nothing puts as big a smile on your face as when the riverboat cruises by.

For some reason, seeing the riverboat cruising by is magical and infectious.  I know, a poor choice of words with everything going on with the Covid 19 pandemic, but it IS infectious.  Have you ever had the riverboat cruise by where everyone wasn't waving and smiling, laughing and having a good time?  You can't help it, it makes you smile too...INFECTIOUS!

Unfortunately this Summer, we are going to miss out on this piece of happiness.  For only the second time in the 29 years of operation, the riverboat season has been forced to cancel.  The other being the 2011 flood.  The Board of Directors of the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation met on Tuesday to discuss the Summer season and issued the following statement:

“The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic requires the board to make the most sensible decision. As there is no way to socially distance on the Lewis & Clark Riverboat, during the May 5, 2020 meeting the Board of Directors voted to suspend riverboat operations for the 2020 cruise season. This ensures that the health and safety of our passengers and crew continues to come first.

“Staff will be in touch with private charters and public cruise ticket holders for the 2020 cruise season to issue refunds or re-book for the 2021 cruise season. “The board is using this time to plan and prepare.  We will use these next months to make improvements for the 2021 season, which will mark the riverboat’s 30th year of operation (1991-2021). “We value and are grateful for the continued strong support of the Bismarck-Mandan community and the northern Plains. We look forward to welcoming everyone aboard for the 2021 cruise season.”

While it makes me sad that we won't see our riverboat and all of the happy passengers cruising the Missouri this Summer, I am looking forward to the opening of their new "Riverboat Landing" and as much time as I can spend on the river this Summer.  I just put our pontoon in this week and that made me smile.