They have shaped and nurtured Pennsylvania's economic growth, enhanced its natural beauty, and offered limitless recreational opportunities. They are Pennsylvania's rivers.
Governor Tom Wolf has saluted them by declaring June as Pennsylvania Rivers Month.
Whether they nourish our farms, quench our thirst, enrich our scenery, or relax our minds and bodies, Pennsylvania’s rivers always have been an integral part of our quality of life.
Each spring and summer those who fish and boat on their waters, and hike and bike along their banks head for their favorite waterway to say thanks by participating in an annual sojourn.
On canoes, kayaks, and rafts they come, devoting a day or a week to sampling the sights and sounds along their favorite waterway. These individuals, families, and groups of friends will camp, listen to speakers, and leave more cognizant of the challenges a river or stream faces.
Pick a river or major stream from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and odds are good they’ll be the focus of a celebration.
The Pennsylvania Sojourn Program is nationally unique. No other state has as many paddling trips organized in a similar fashion, offering a set of paddling trips on major rivers across the state, facilitated by local organizations, that engages thousands of individuals and hundreds of local businesses and nonprofit organizations.
DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn notes sojourns are an important part of the conservation fabric of Pennsylvania, offering the public a chance to see what has been done right, and where there is need for improvement.
Dunn will participate in a June 22 and 23 sojourn saluting the Allegheny River, Pennsylvania’s 2017 River of the Year. Earlier, on June 7, she will join hundreds of Schuylkill River supporters in a sojourn stretching from the northeast coal regions to Philadelphia.
“Through these planned Pennsylvania River Month celebrations, public awareness of the river's value will be increased and major initiatives along these rivers will be underscored,” Dunn said. “Economic revitalization of river-town communities will enhance access to the river; increase tourism; and provide additional land and water-based recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.
“I could think of no better way to observe Rivers Month than to spend a day on a free-flowing river or stream steeped in beauty and recreational and historical prominence,” Dunn said. “All highlight how Pennsylvania is blessed with a wealth of waterways and a core of dedicated folks who fight to protect them.”
The Pennsylvania Sojourn Program is administered by the Pennsylvania Organization of Waterways and Rivers (POWR) in partnership with DCNR.
With at least a dozen each year, these activities:
- Encompass mncompass more than 500 river miles and 50 on-the-water days
- Offer more than 100 educational programs
- Engage at least 4,000 people
In addition to the Schuylkill and Allegheny river events, other 2017 sojourns include:
- June 1–4: Stony-Kiski-Conemaugh Rivers. Host: Conemaugh Valley Conservancy
- June 3: Perkiomen Creek. Host: Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy
- June 17–23: 23rd Annual Delaware River Sojourn. Host: Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition
- June 17: Summer Sojourn 2017: On the French Creek Water Trail. Host: French Creek Valley Conservancy
- June 17: Pedal/Paddle on the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and the West Branch of the Susquehanna. Host: Susquehanna Greenway Partnership
- June 24–25: Connie Q Canoe Trip Celebration on the Connoquenessing Creek. Host: Allegheny Aquatic Alliance
- July 24–26: Lehigh River. Host: Wildlands Conservancy
- July 29: Rebel Float Trip: The Whiskey Rebellion as told by David Bowie Impersonators on the Monongahela River. Host: National Road Heritage Corridor-Mon River Town Program
- June and August: First Waves Sojourn. Host: First Waves
For more information, you can view a map of sojourns planned statewide this year.
To learn more about the River of the Year program, the nominated waterways, and past winners, see POWR’s resources.