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Harrisburg, PA – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today announced the public is invited to vote online for the 2024 Pennsylvania River of the Year, choosing from among three waterways nominated throughout the state. 

“I am excited for this year’s competition and look forward to seeing which river comes out on top,” Dunn said. “This annual competition is a great way to highlight Pennsylvania’s special waterways and the benefits they bring for conservation, recreation, economic development, and so much more. We look forward to tallying up votes and announcing the 2024 River of the Year in the coming months.”

The nominees for the 2024 River of the Year are the Allegheny River, Lackawaxen River, and Youghiogheny River. Nominations were based on each waterway’s conservation needs, successes, and programming plans if the nominee is voted 2024 River of the Year. 

Selection of public voting choices is overseen by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) in cooperation with DCNR. Dunn noted that the online public selection process continues to be increasingly popular as it enters its fourteenth year.

The public can vote for a favorite state waterway through 5:00 PM Friday, January 19, 2024. The POWR website enables voting and offers details on nominated waterways and the River of the Year program. Voting is managed through Woobox, an online contest application restricting voting to one email address.

POWR, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), administers the River of the Year program with funding from DCNR. Presented annually since 1983, last year’s 2023 River of the Year designation was awarded North Branch Susquehanna River.

“We are excited to once again kick off the public online voting process for Pennsylvania River of the Year,” said Janet Sweeney, executive director of POWR. “As we all continue to spend more time outdoors and deepen our appreciation for the beautiful natural resources of Pennsylvania, the annual River of the Year voting process is a fun way to rally behind and support your favorite waterway.”

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 from DCNR to help fund 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 among many paddling trips supported each year by DCNR and POWR. An independent program, the Pennsylvania Sojourn Program, is a unique series of a dozen such trips on the state’s rivers. The 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.pa.gov (go to “Conservation” and click on “Water”).

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