Nominated rivers include the Kiski-Conemaugh River, Lackawanna River, Lehigh River, Ohio River and the Susquehanna River – North Branch.
“In all of these nominated waterways there are showcased so many unique natural resources, recreational opportunities and incentives boosting local economies,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “They demonstrate just how blessed Pennsylvanians are with a wealth of major rivers and streams and how so many are willing to support them.” “The online public selection process continues to be increasingly popular as it enters its sixth year,” Dunn said. “This spirit of good-natured competition rallies community support around our deserving waterways and puts them in the public limelight across our state.”
Nominations were based on each waterway’s conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans should the nominee be voted 2016 River of the Year. In cooperation with DCNR, selection of public voting choices is 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 November 13, 2015 through 5 p.m. Monday, December 14, 2015. Visit www.pariveroftheyear.org to vote and learn about the nominated waterways and the River of the Year program. 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 2015 designation was awarded to the Conewango Creek in northwest Pennsylvania.
“This is a wonderful and unique opportunity for residents across the Commonwealth to show support for their local river by taking part in the voting process for the 2016 River of the Year,” said Janet Sweeney, Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.
“Being PA River of the Year and engaging in our ROY activities gave the Conewango Creek Watershed monumental exposure to a wide audience from multiple states, and helped put our watershed in rural Northwest PA on the must-do list for future recreationalists, environmentalists, and travelers. And Warren being the host city for the PA Trails Conference made our name even more recognizable,” said Ron Keeney Board Member Conewango Creek Watershed Association.
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.
POWR and DCNR also work with local organizations to create a free, commemorative poster celebrating the River of the Year.
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.
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
Janet Sweeney, POWR, 570-718-6507