Temperatures are finally rising and river levels are finally falling.

Missoula water lovers are starting to populate area rivers in tubes, rafts, kayaks, on paddleboards and any other sort of flotation device that will provide a day of heat-relieving outdoor recreational mirth. Want to alleviate all those parking and transporting back and forth hassles?

UM News Service reports that after a very successful first year of offering free shuttles to a couple of Clark Fork River access sites, the University of Montana has been able to expand the services, starting today (Thursday, July 7) and running through August 28. And while we're not talking about daily service, there are now opportunities Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The free UDASH shuttle program was launched last summer. The university partnered with numerous organizations to implement the project, including offices of the City of Missoula and Missoula County, Destination Missoula, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Through additional generous funding, the shuttle program has grown as it enters its second year.

According to UM News Service, here's how it works:

THURSDAYS - UDASH Shuttles will run every hour on the hour, starting at noon. The last trip departs at 6:00 p.m.

SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS - Shuttle service every half-hour from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Each shuttle can accommodate up to 20 people and their flotation devices. Shuttles depart from the UM’s Campus Recreation Center, which is part of the Adams Center building on Campus Drive, next to the northwest corner of Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Floaters are taken to the Sha-Ron Fishing Access Site in East Missoula, as well as  Milltown State Park upon request.

Flotation devices need not be deflated to ride, but please, courtesy is key. Don't overload the bus with your stuff and if you're part of a large group, it would be helpful to RSVP.

UM Campus Recreation also has tubes for rent, and if you want to park on campus you can get parking permits from the UDASH drivers.

Nice, huh? None of that, "Okay, we'll leave your car here near the river. Then we'll take my car to the river where we're going to put in and when we get out where your car is parked,   you take me back to my car."

Great job, UM, for making this so convenient for all those floaters!

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