The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Pennsylvania River Sojourn Grants. These grants are awarded on a competitive basis for single and multi-day paddling events on Pennsylvania Rivers. Grant recipients receive $500 for a single-day sojourn and $900 per day for multi-day sojourns.

The Pennsylvania Sojourn Program is administered by POWR in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The PA Sojourn Program is nationally unique, distributing grants across the state to local organizations and their sojourn events. 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.

Sojourns are not only a fun outdoor activity, but are also an effective tool for raising awareness about our rivers and the issues affecting them, educating and enhancing community involvement about natural and cultural resources, and promoting and encouraging watershed stewardship. The Sojourn program serves as a bridge to bring our communities to our rivers and streams to educate them, enabling them to become lifelong stewards of these resources. River sojourns offer a different point of view on some of Pennsylvania’s treasured landscapes and historic and cultural assets.

To view a map of sojourns planned statewide this year, click on this link: 2017 Sojourn Map

May 6, 2017

Swatara Sojourn

Host: Swatara Watershed Association

Canoe 30 river miles: Starting at Route 645 south of Pine Grove, Schuylkill County and paddle through Swatara State Park, and end the second day at Swatara Watershed Park. The sojourn will last 2 days and 1 night. See and experience our local treasures of natural beauty and geological formations (limestone outcrops), historical Union Canal Locks, and recreation. Also, be prepared to walk through wetlands and cow ploppers, observe birds and other wildlife, identify aquatic insects, portage canoes, get drizzled on, fall in & have blue lips the rest of the day, eat good food, enjoy good company, and take home lusty tales of adventure.

May 12 – 14, 2017

2nd Annual Student Sojourn

Host: Endless Mountains Heritage Region

Endless Mountains Heritage Region for the 2nd Annual Student Sojourn on the Susquehanna North Branch, which will take place from May 12th through May 14th, 2017

May 13, 2017

Riverfest 2017

Host: Lackawanna River Corridor Association

On Saturday May 13, 2017, paddlers will take to the water and revelers will fill the banks of the Lackawanna River for the 30th time. A day of exercise and fun, RiverFest draws the community outdoors after the long uncommon winter to celebrate the valley and the river that runs through it. 2017 continues us to “Move Forward!” The LRCA, celebrating thirty years of service involving citizens of our watershed with conservation and stewardship of the River, its tributaries and water resources, is now known as the Lackawanna River Conservation Association and the RiverFest festivities will now be at the reclaimed lands at Sweeney’s Beach Recreation Area.

May 18 – May 21, 2017

20th Annual Allie-Kiski-Connie Canoe Sojourn

Host: Armstrong Center for Community Learning

Join the Armstrong Center for Community Learning and the Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center for a scenic river adventure; paddling through the beautiful Allegheny, Kiskiminetas and Conemaugh Valleys. Share in the rich heritage of these unique waterways. This four-day event will incorporate elements of canoeing, kayaking and informal education, while it promotes the use of our excellent local waterways as a destination of outdoor recreation enthusiasts

May 20, 2017

4th Annual Loyalhanna Sojourn

Host: Loyalhanna Watershed Association

The 4th Annual Loyalhanna Sojourn is a one-day event planned to generate excitement and coordinate the efforts of several area organizations to promote the positive changes occurring on the Loyalhanna Creek and its surrounding communities. Participants will paddle a nine-mile section of the Creek beginning at the Cardinal Park launch site in Latrobe downstream to the take out at the newly improved Ballfield Launch in New Alexandria. The day will include shuttle transportation, refreshments, boating safety review, overview of environmental features. After the float, stay to enjoy live music, food vendors and fun!

June 1 – 4, 2017

Stony-Kiski-Conemaugh Rivers Sojourn

Host: Conemaugh Valley Conservancy

The 2017 Stony-Kiski-Conemaugh Rivers Sojourn is planned and coordinated annually by a Conemaugh Valley Conservancy volunteer committee. The Sojourn is appropriate for both new and experienced paddlers, and is a wonderful way to learn about the rivers, history, culture and recreation resources in the Kiski-Conemaugh corridor. The Sojourn offers up to 4 days of mostly flat paddling along the borders of Cambria, Westmoreland, Indiana, and Armstrong Counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania, about an hour east of Pittsburgh. Highlights of the Kiski-Conemaugh Sojourn include: The Kiski-Conemaugh Water Trail is a key feature in the Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway™, a 320-mile corridor of hub communities and heritage sites connected by land and water trails, roughly following the path of the historic Main Line Canal.

June 3, 2017

Perkiomen Creek Sojourn

Host: Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy

Paddle a seven mile stretch of the Perkiomen Creek with the Conservancy team! Learn about the human and natural history of the area, enjoy lunch on a secluded gravel bar and view some of the more secretive wildlife. The sojourn highlights the natural beauty of the creek and provides environmental educational programming for participants.

June 3 – 9, 2017

Schuylkill River Sojourn

Host: Schuylkill River Greenway Association

The Schuylkill River Sojourn is an annual 112-mile guided canoe/kayak trip on the Schuylkill River that begins in rural Schuylkill Haven and ends seven days later in Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row. Participants paddle 14-18 miles per day and can register for the entire trip or as little as one day. Sometimes it is wet and wild. At other times it is peaceful and inspiring. There are a few rapids, calm water, plenty of laughs, songs at the campsites, and celebrations in the river towns. There is a little bit of everything for paddlers throughout the week-long sojourn that begins the first weekend of June. And though the same route is paddled every year, a different river greets us every June.

June 16 – 23, 2017

23rd Annual Delaware River Sojourn: Flowing Together on the Delaware River

Host: Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition

The 23rd Delaware River Sojourn is an 8-day sojourn trip that includes camping, paddling, and educational events. The theme “Flowing Together” was chosen to highlight the Delaware River and its tributary watersheds that make up the Delaware River Basin, as well as the individuals who come together to protect it. The opening ceremonies will be at the Zane Grey Museum and the closing ceremonies will be at Hugh Moore Park in Easton, Pa. The Sojourn gives people of all ages and experience a chance to have a truly “hands-on” river adventure that brings together individuals to celebrate the river, participate in a fun, outdoors event, and learn a little bit about our region, history, and environment and how to give back.

June 17, 2017

Summer Sojourn 2017: On the French Creek Water Trail

Host: French Creek Valley Conservancy

French Creek Valley Conservancy
The French Creek Summer Solstice Sojourn is Saturday, June 17. Participants will be paddling from Shaw’s Landing to Utica, a total distance of about 12 river miles. The day will be packed with fun, education, and great food! Participants will hear about the geology of French Creek, some of the significant archeological finds along this stretch of French Creek, and we’ll also learn about Cochranton and Utica, two communities in the Creek Town program, and some of the wonderfully unexpected things they have to offer. This year’s sojourn is a single day and will conclude at French Creek Farm in Utica, where dinner will be provided. Participants can spend the night and camp and are welcome to make arrangements directly with French Creek Farm.

June 17, 2017

Pedal/Paddle on the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and the West Branch of the Susquehanna

Host: Susquehanna Greenway Partnership

Join the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership on June 17th, 2017 and discover Jersey Shore by land and sea. Pedal/Paddle Jersey Shore is a one-day celebration connecting participants to the outdoor opportunities along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. During the morning, you will enjoy a guided bike ride along the beautiful Pine Creek Rail Trail, named top 10 best biking destinations in the world by USA Today. Participants will enjoy a delicious lunch at the Whitetail access area and hear a presentation about the history of the Pine Creek valley. In the afternoon, you will set off paddling on the cool waters of Pine Creek before flowing into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

June 24 – 25, 2017

Connie Q Canoe Trip Celebration on the Connoquenessing Creek

Host: Allegheny Aquatic Alliance

The Connie Q Canoe Trip Celebration will allow people of all ages and skills to enjoy and engage in a sojourn on a captivating scenic creek. Allegheny Aquatic Alliance will guide you through this two-day, 16-mile kayak/canoe paddle across beautiful Butler County on Connoquenessing Creek. This celebration will encourage participants to learn more about this important waterway and how to protect it. The event includes shuttle service, overnight camping, dinner and breakfast, live entertainment, informative speakers, raffles and silent auction, campfire snacks, and fun for all! One day paddlers are welcome also. Take part in this exciting unique paddling opportunity and experience what our local natural resources have to offer.

July 24– 26, 2017

Lehigh River Sojourn

Host: Wildlands Conservancy

The 21st Annual Lehigh River Sojourn is Wildlands Conservancy’s 32.6-mile guided paddling trip on the Lehigh River. The event begins in the Pocono Mountains and ends in Easton. Sojourners travel through our region’s metro-wilderness – treasuring scenic views, visits from resident wildlife and a shared appreciation for preserving the Lehigh River

July 29, 2017

Rebel Rebel Float Trip: The Whiskey Rebellion as told by David Bowie Impersonators on the Monogahela River

Host: National Road Heritage Corridor-Mon River Town Program

The Rebel, Rebel Float Trip will interpret the historic 18th century Whiskey Rebellion as told by David Bowie actors and impersonators. The performance will take place both on the water and along the riverbanks. Participants will not simply watch the performance; they will be invited to participate, starting with having their option of donning either early American garb or Bowie face paint (or both!) while they paddle. The event will end with whiskey tastings with local distilleries and a meal of foods that could have been found in either 1790s Western Pennsylvania or 1970s South London, birthplace to David Bowie. Music will set the tone of the event prior to paddling and at the event’s conclusion. This guided paddling event featuring performances both on shore and in the river, is meant to involve the audience in an event that engages the senses and offers a different connection with the water.

June and August 2017

First Waves Sojourn

Host: First Waves

The First Waves Program provides students with a 2-day, immersive education in watershed conservation, the art of filmmaking, and standup paddle boarding. In the first workshop, students will learn to standup paddleboard, navigate moving water, and even surf on standing river waves. They will learn the essentials of waterway safety and proper equipment handling. Additionally, participants will learn filmmaking techniques to document the experience. They will learn to use open-ended questions for interviewing their peers, shoot B-Roll and action footage of the day’s events, and use waterproof POV cameras to capture their first moments standing on a board and riding their first waves. Lastly, basic watershed topics will be introduced including; understanding what a watershed is, the impact of single-use plastics, littering, and non-point source pollution.

During the conservation and stewardship event, First Waves students will utilize the skills and knowledge they acquired in the first workshop to clean up a section of river while documenting their work. They will learn first-hand about the causes of the pollution they are seeing and how choices they make each day influence their watershed. Through video interviews with their mentors, instructors, and peers, students will forge the connection between watershed conservation, recreation, and the use of filmmaking to deliver powerful messages that will inspire others.