The Clarion River

A Wild and Scenic River that draws legions of anglers, paddlers and other outdoors enthusiasts throughout the seasons, the Clarion River in northwestern Pennsylvania has been voted the state’s 2019 River of the Year.

The public was invited to vote online, choosing from among four waterways nominated across the state. Results were announced jointly today by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Pennsylvania Organization for Waterways and Rivers (POWR).

Other waterways nominated were: Conodoguinet Creek, Delaware River and Lackawanna River. 

“Congratulations to the supporting groups who rallied around a waterway most deserving of River of the Year honors,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Beyond its Wild and Scenic River status, this icon of our Pennsylvania Wilds defines a wilderness of clean water and healthy forests that draws back visitors again and again. 

“This annual honor recognizes not only our state’s wealth of rivers and streams, but also the core of dedicated folks who fight to protect them.”

A total of 14,790 votes were cast, with the Clarion receiving 5,850; Delaware River, 4,748; Lackawanna River, 2,852; and Conodoguinet Creek, 1,340.

DCNR and POWR will work with the Allegheny Watershed Improvement Needs (WINs) Coalition to create a free, commemorative poster celebrating the Clarion River as the 2019 PA River of the Year.  

As acting fiscal agent for the WINs Coalition, the Western PA Conservancy, will receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to help fund a slate of year-long River of the Year activities.  

The WINS Coalition is a collaborative network of 35 organizations, including members from nonprofits and local watershed groups, as well as county, state, and federal agencies, all of whom will plan and coordinate the celebration events to be held throughout the year. The WINS Coalition was formed in 2007 with the goals of protecting, restoring, and improving habitat in watersheds throughout the Allegheny National Forest.  

“Having just observed the 2018 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by hailing the conservation of nearly 52 miles of the Clarion River protected under that designation, we are elated to continue to honor the Clarion as the 2019 Pennsylvania River of the Year to celebrate
its remarkable recovery and pay tribute to it as a treasured resource of the state,” said Kylie Maland of the Allegheny Watershed Improvement Needs (WINs) Coalition. 

About The Clarion River

Aquatic communities along the Clarion River were historically impacted and degraded from watershed stressors, such as mining and logging, but the river presently supports healthy aquatic communities thanks to many restoration, enhancement, and protection efforts over the years. The Clarion River is a thriving cold water fishery from its headwaters to its confluence with Mill Creek in Strattanville, where it transitions to a warm water fishery until its confluence with the Allegheny River. The Clarion River has National Wild and Scenic River (WSR) designation, which protects and enhances its free-flowing state to promote recreational and scenic values.

The river is continuing to recover thanks in part to the concerted conservation efforts of many agencies and organizations along its corridor.

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