Pennsylvanians Choose Monongahela as 2013 River of the Year

monongahela-royThe Monongahela River, flowing through Green, Fayette, Washington, Westmoreland and Allegheny counties, has been named Pennsylvania’s 2013 River of the Year following public, online voting across the state.

For the third year in a row, public voting determined the selection from among six candidates for River of the Year honors. Among 25,450 ballots cast, the Monongahela River received 8,156 votes.

“Like so many of our great state rivers once sullied by mine drainage and other pollution, the Monongahela is surging back as a vital link to unlimited recreational potential and rich natural and historical resources,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan said. “From the West Virginia border to the heart of Pittsburgh, visitors are rediscovering our newest River of the Year and the scores of historic town and villages it showcases.”

“The Monongahela is surging back as a vital link to unlimited recreational potential and rich natural and historical resources.”

Noting strong public participation in the 2013 voting process, Allan said, “This online format continues to generate local enthusiasm for conservation and recognition of the importance of our waterways.”

“Once again the River of the Year designation raises awareness of our rivers and their conservation needs.”

The five other finalists and total votes received were: Schuylkill River (8,010); Lackawanna River (5,286); Kiskiminetas River (2,310); Swatara Creek (1,213); and Juniata River (475).

“All of these contenders were nominated because they are special and important in their own way,” Allan said. “To the local groups who nominated these waterways and rallied support for them – not only for this vote, but through all of their continued activities and advocacy – we offer our heartiest congratulations.”

mon-sojourn-2012DCNR and the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administer the River of the Year program. Local organizations submit nominations.

POWR also helps organize and support local watershed associations, as well as the groups who lead a dozen sojourns on rivers around the state each year.

“The number of votes cast this year in the River of the Year selection process is staggering,” said POWR Executive Director Janie French . “We congratulate the supporters of the Monongahela River, and thank the thousands of Pennsylvanians who voted. We are excited about this opportunity to showcase the successes and challenges facing the Monongahela and all of Pennsylvania’s waterways.”

There are a number of other organizations working in partnership to support conservation and recreation activities along Monongahela River. Among them is the Brownsville Area Redevelopment Corporation, a community development corporation seeking economic development through outdoor recreation, community stewardship and historical preservation. The corporation nominated the Monongahela for this year’s honor and will serve as local organizer for River of the Year activities.

“We are all so excited to receive this honor and are blessed by the support of our friends far and near who recall many happy memories along the Monongahela River,” said Brownsville Area Redevelopment Corporation Treasurer Norma Ryan . “We are looking forward to many celebrations along the river as our communities join together to show our appreciation.”

Before joining the Allegheny River to form the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, the Monongahela River flows north 130 miles across the Allegheny Plateau in southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. With an extensive lock and dam system still in use today, the river serves as an example of how industrial and recreational uses can coexist side by side.

Having rebounded from the deadly effects of abandoned mine drainage and unchecked pollution, the Monongahela River carves out a 7,340 square-mile watershed containing woodlands, rolling farmland, active and reclaimed coal mines, and towns rich in the history of the Industrial Revolution. Its often shallow, swift currents gave rise to a redesigned steamboat that revolutionized navigation and opened the nation’s heartland to commerce.

The Monongahela River is the western boundary of the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative. Led by DCNR, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and others, the initiative seeks to protect the unique character of the Laurel Highlands and recognize its communities as world-class heritage/recreation destinations as well as desirable places to work and live.

Six communities along the Monongahela River are participating in the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s River Town Program. This program assists distressed communities bordering a navigable river to develop an alternative economic engine, outdoor recreation, to aid in community revitalization.

Several events throughout the year will celebrate the Monongahela River’s designation, including a sojourn offering canoeists, kayakers and other paddlers a chance to experience life on the river and encourage greater understanding of its challenges and potential.

The Monongahela River also will be celebrated with an annual Rivers Month poster issued in June.

Pennsylvania’s River of the Year honors have been presented annually since 1983.

For more sojourn event information, visit www.pawatersheds.org or contact Josh Karns at info@pawatersheds.org.

To learn more about DCNR’s Rivers Program, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us/brc/conservation/rivers/index.htm.

20 responses to “Pennsylvanians Choose Monongahela as 2013 River of the Year

  1. Praise the lord. The mon will bring many people and supplies to brownsville pa for the physical and spiritual revival of brownsville pa. This is part of the swirling dream and vision of brownsville.

  2. Congrats Pittsburg. The Schuylkill will have to settle for 2nd place this year but we gave you a good run to the finish. I haven’t been up your way in a few years but the river front is impressive.

    • Reply to John Muff,
      Thanks for the “congrats,” John, but please get the spelling of the city right. Our city has an “h” on the end–we’re not in Kansas any more!

  3. Greetings from Texas. Glad to see the Mon get some recognition since a lot of work went into cleaning it up. I was born next to the Mon in West Elizabeth and grew up in Elizabeth. I spent many a summer day swimming in the Mon at the old Waterworks beach in Elizabeth as did most of my friends. I hope the river will see a return to the fishing that must have been available years ago. Congratulations to all who made this possible.

    • HI Joe,
      Were you raised around the Monongehela River? I was. Everyone growing up near the river spent most of their growing up time in the river. There are loads of memories of time spent there with our families, friends, and buddies.
      I guess, if you move away, like I did in 1963, you cherish all the time spent there, not forgetting it’s beauty, and the memories.
      Kathy

  4. As a volunteer in the River Town Program in Point Marion, I’m happy that our efforts to bring new energy and enthusiasm to the Mon River Valley are paying off. We encourage residents and visitors to explore our beautiful area of Pennsylvania. A special invitation is extended for you to come to Friendship Hill National Historic Site, the country estate of Albert Gallatin. The park sits high on a bluff overlooking the river and is a hidden treasure, featuring a restored mansion and miles of trails.

  5. I grew up along the Monongahela from W.Va. to Pittsburgh, loving every mile of it!
    When a kid, the Mon was yellow and brown and no fish lived in it. Now it is a beautiful blue or green (Depending on the sky.) It has been restored to its beauty. I have many great memories of that old river. I love the descendants of the European settlers who came there. Their strong work ethnic made the “Golden Triangle” what it was. Now, the efforts of people like former Brownsville Mayor Norma Jean Ryan and others have given the “Mon” a rebirth.

    Their efforts are responsible.

    I am thankful for all the time and efforts those people have put into the miracle.

  6. On The Mon—- the words mean alot for us who lived beside it, went swimming in it, boated on it, crossed over on the ferrys, and bridges (Both old and new). Yes, it was and still is alive and well.

  7. I live in
    texas now but i sure have so many memories of swimming sunning and so much more. I miss it so much. I am hoping to plan a trip to Brownnsville to visit friends and family. go mon.

  8. I live in
    texas now but i sure have so many memories of swimming sunning and so much more. I miss it so much. I am hoping to plan a trip to Brownnsville to visit friends and family. go mon.

  9. I live in
    texas now but i sure have so many memories of swimming sunning and so much more. I miss it so much. I am hoping to plan a trip to Brownnsville to visit friends and family. go mon.

  10. I live in
    texas now but i sure have so many memories of swimming sunning and so much more. I miss it so much. I am hoping to plan a trip to Brownnsville to visit friends and family. go mon.

  11. I live in
    texas now but i sure have so many memories of swimming sunning and so much more. I miss it so much. I am hoping to plan a trip to Brownnsville to visit friends and family. go mon.

  12. Very happy the Mon won this year!! My family, friends, and I encouraged everyone we know everywhere we are to vote ( a lot of sw PA! ) and believed that helped to win 🙂
    The Monongahela River Valley has always been my home and the Mon always a part of my life. The Mon is a beautiful place to spend time and a fave of mine for recreation, relaxation, and to photograph. I am ever impressed by all she offers. Very glad for the ‘2013 River of the Year’ designation to showcase the Monongahela River towns and resources and help her to even better.
    Many thanks to all who voted, and to DCNR for this recognition 🙂

    • I was born and raised in Monongahela. I left there in 1960 and now live in Manteca ca. I went back in 2012 after not being home in ten years.. My family lived in an apartment and from the balcony I could see the boats going pass. As a kid I didn’t pay too much attention to it. This time I did and I could not believe how beautiful and tranquil the Mon is. I hated to leave and return home to Manteca.

  13. I GREW UP IN DENBO, PA. I NOW LIVE IN LODI, CA. I HAVE MANY HAPPY MEMORIES OF THE AREA WHERE I WAS RAISED..I USED TO SIT ON MY GRANDMOTHER’S SWING AND WATCH THE OLD PADDLE WHEELERS ON THE MON. KIDS BEING DARE DEVILS THAT THEY WERE WOULD RIDE THE WHITE CAPS CHURNED UP BY THE BOAT PADDLE..MY YOUNGEST SON LEARNED TO FISH ON THE MON AND TO THIS DAY IS AN AVID FISHERMAN..I HOPE THAT THOSE AREAS, BROWNSVILLE, DENBO AND A FEW OTHER OF THE SMALL TOWNS IN THAT AREA CAN BE RE–DEVELOPED. IT IS A BEAUTIFUL AREA.

  14. CONGRATULATIONS!

    Nothing more beautiful and picturesque than that Mon S-curve that runs past California and Newell, PA from atop Highpoint Drive on a sunny summer day. (In ANY season, actually). One of the prettiest sights anywhere.

  15. Congrats to all who supported and voted for the Mon. Born in Monongahela, I have many fond memories of swimming and boating on the river. I’ve been away from Monongahela since 1962 but II’m retiring in January 2014. Just bought a house in Donora, so I’m looking forward to enjoying the river again.

  16. Greetings from Georgetown, TX. I spent many years (1955-1971)swimming the river down at the West Brownsville sand bar with friends and my brothers & sister. This year Marathon on the MON (MOM) swimming challenge will take place from the county bridge in Brownsville to the West Brownsville railroad bridge. The 1 mile swim takes place during the 16th annual Brownsville four day class reunion at HIGH NOON on Friday August 2nd. The “Gator” from Texas via West Brownsville VS the “Shark” from Tennessee via West Brownsville will be something to see. Anyone who is anybody will be there. Seeya all there.

    PS: I’m taking on all comers over the age of 65. The “gator”

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