Does Great Falls really have the shortest river in the United States?  Or the world?

It is an argument that has never been settled.  In fact,  the Guinness Book of World Records has deleted the shortest river category altogether.  For years,  the "D" River in Oregon laid claim to the shortest river in the world up until 1987 when a group of kids from Lincoln Elementary School in Great Falls started a campaign to put the Roe River on the map.  The Roe is officially 201 feet long.  The "D" River was 440 feet long.  After Guinness labled the Roe River as the shortest the people in Oregon got mad.

Roe River
Photo by: Pat Frisch
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Roe River

Roe River in Giant Springs State Park, Great Falls, Montana.

in 1989, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce in Oregon had the "D" River measured again and this time the river came in at 120 feet.   How did the river shrink?  It's all about the criteria.  You see, in Oregon, an engineer said the river should be measured at high tide.  The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce even took a shot at the kids at the grade school in Great Falls, calling the Roe River nothing more than a drainage ditch surveyed for a school project.  Montana supporters of the Roe River fired back saying the "D" River was nothing more than an ocean water backup.  In 2006,  Guinness chose to no longer list the shortest river because of the ongoing dispute.

D River
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Today both Great Falls and the people in Oregon lay claim to the shortest river in the world.  But that's probably not right either.  The shortest river in the world just might be in Indonesia.  The Tamborasi River is only about 60 feet long.  And at about 90 feet is the Ombla River in Croatia.

What do you think?  You can write me at pat.frisch@townsquaremedia.com

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