Love to kayak or canoe? Or have you always wanted to try? Either way, embarking on a group, educational water adventure, known as a river sojourn, could be the experience you’re craving!
River sojourns are guided paddling trips on a waterway, typically with stops for lunch and educational programming. They offer both new and experienced paddlers an opportunity to enjoy outdoor recreation and learn more about specific waterways, while being accompanied by experienced guides.
With June being Pennsylvania Rivers Month, there’s no better time to plan to get out on the water, learn more about the importance of our waterways, and have a fun time with others.
Pennsylvania’s Sojourn Program
The Pennsylvania sojourn program provides funding through a competitive grant application process, to local organizations to lead these guided paddling trips.
These grants support between 12 and 17 paddling events each year, encompassing over 500 river miles and 50+ on-the-water days, offering more than 100 educational programs, and engaging over 4,000 people.
The program is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), with support from DCNR and the American Canoe Association.
Here are some river sojourn facts from POWR:
- Sojourn season in Pennsylvania generally is May-September
- Sojourns can be one day or multi-day
- The typical cost to participants is roughly $20-$80 per day
- Cost often includes the paddling equipment, lunch, overnight camping (if applicable), and a variety of educational speakers related to the waterway’s local heritage, economy, wildlife, etc.
Celebrating the 2018 River of the Year
The 2018 Pennsylvania River of the Year, Loyalsock Creek, will be recognized and celebrated with a sojourn on June 23, with DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joining the paddle, as well as a celebratory poster unveiling.
“This annual honor highlights our state’s wealth of rivers and streams, and recognizes the core of dedicated folks who fight to protect them,” said Dunn. “Public awareness of the Loyalsock’s value will be increased and initiatives along the waterway river will be underscored. Both serve economic revitalization by enhancing access to the stream; increasing tourism; and providing additional land and water-based recreational opportunities for area residents and visitors alike.”
Plan Your Paddle Trip
POWR provides a map of sojourns across the state funded through the Pennsylvania Sojourn Program. There currently are 24 trips scheduled for May through September 2018.
If you’d prefer to try kayaking on a lake at a state park, check out DCNR’s kayaking events.
DCNR’s Focus on Water
With an eye to the future, DCNR is focusing some strategic efforts around protecting and improving water quality, and encouraging people to get out and enjoy the many lakes, rivers, and streams that are found in the commonwealth.
Part of this initiative is conserving and expanding forested landscapes -- including woodlands, stream buffers, and community trees -- that serve as natural filters for pollutants entering waterways.
The department also plays an active role in managing resources to provide water-based recreation. In addition to supporting the rivers sojourns, this work includes: