Harrisburg –The public is invited to again vote online for the 2014 Pennsylvania River of the Year, choosing from among five waterways nominated across the state.
Rivers nominated are: Schuylkill in eastern Pennsylvania; Kiskiminetas-Conemaugh rivers in the southwest; Ohio in the west; Brodhead Creek Watershed in the northeast; and West Branch of the Susquehanna in the north central section of the state.
“So many unique natural resources and so much recreational potential are showcased individually in these nominations,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Acting Secretary Ellen Ferretti. “Collectively, these rivers and streams demonstrate just how blessed Pennsylvania is with its wealth of major waterways.”
Nominations were based on each waterway’s conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans should the nominee be voted 2014 River of the Year.In cooperation with DCNR, selection of public voting choices was overseen by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
The public can vote for their favorite state waterway beginning today through 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27. Visit www.pariveroftheyear.org to vote and learn about the nominated waterways and the River of the Year program.
“As it enters its fourth year, we have seen the online public selection process become increasingly popular,” Ferretti said. “We also know this spirit of good-natured competition rallies community support around our waterways and puts deserving rivers and streams in the limelight.”
Voting will be managed through Woobox, an online contest application that restricts voting to one vote per email address.
POWR, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, administers the River of the Year program with funding from DCNR. Presented annually since 1983, this year’s designation was awarded to the Monongahela River in southwest Pennsylvania.
“The River of the Year contest allows all Pennsylvanians to highlight the many fabulous waterways they enjoy, whether by boating, fishing, walking, eating, or shopping along the river trails,” said Paul King, president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. “While we formally recognize only one river with this award, we acknowledge the unique value of all rivers and their contribution to the overall environmental quality of Pennsylvania and the quality of life of all who enjoy them.”
After a waterway is chosen for the annual honor, local groups implement a year-round slate of activities and events to celebrate the river, including a paddling trip, or sojourn. The organization nominating the winning river will receive a $10,000 leadership grant to help fund their River of the Year activities.
The River of the Year sojourn is just one of many paddling trips supported by DCNR and POWR each year. An independent program, the Pennsylvania Sojourn Program, is a unique series of a dozen such trips on the state’s rivers. These water-based journeys for canoeists, kayakers and others raise awareness of the environmental, recreational, tourism and heritage values of rivers. For more information about the sojourns, visit www.pawatersheds.org.
POWR and DCNR also work with local organizations to create a free, commemorative poster celebrating the River of the Year.
To learn more about DCNR’s Rivers Program, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (click on “Conserve,” then “Waterways”).
To learn more about the River of the Year program, visit www.pariveroftheyear.org.
Terry Brady, DCNR, 717-772-9101
Amy Camp, POWR, 412-918-6563