Delaware Named "River of the Year"
Delaware Sojourn continues through June 25 and stretches from upper Wayne County to lower Bucks County.
Showcasing the wild and scenic beauty that earned it River of the Year honors, the Delaware River is once again drawing large numbers of paddlers, campers and other outdoors enthusiasts to its shores, as the annual Delaware Sojourn is celebrated through June 25.
According to a news release, registration is continuing for the eight-day paddling trip that celebrates the Delaware’s selection as Pennsylvania’s 2011 River of the Year by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
Marking its 17th year and celebrating the theme “River of Life,” the Delaware Sojourn is part of a series of events being held across the state to mark June’s observance of Pennsylvania Rivers Month.
“A goal of our River of the Year designation is to raise awareness of the river and its conservation needs and the Delaware is an invaluable resource that must be protected,” said DCNR Secretary Richard J. Allan. “Our selection aims to cement a vital connection among the waterway, area residents and visitors. The sojourn and other future educational events planned by river supporters can only strengthen those bonds.”
In support of that goal, Governor Tom Corbett has proclaimed June as Rivers Month in Pennsylvania, Allan noted.
“Pennsylvania’s river initiatives are driven by voluntary partnerships with municipal officials, local groups, conservation organizations, and governmental agencies, to develop watershed conservation plans for restoring, maintaining and enhancing all rivers; and leading to the rebound of waterways such as the Delaware River,” Corbett’s proclamation read.
Among the nation’s longest-running sojourns, the Delaware event will traverse almost 75 miles of the river’s main stem, from upper Wayne County to lower Bucks County. Daily trips will range in length from nine to 14 miles, and a 10-mile paddle is also planned on the Lackawaxen River, a tributary of the Delaware and last year’s Pennsylvania River of the Year.
"Program topics this year include water quality monitoring, aquatic life, Native American storytelling, paleontology, and archaeology," said Kate O’Hara, communications assistant for the Delaware River Basin Commission and event co-chair. "Through paddling, education, and camping, we hope to provide sojourners with a heightened sense of appreciation of and stewardship for the river and its watershed."
The sojourn program is coordinated by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, in partnership with DCNR, as well as dozens of local organizations. POWR’s mission is to advocate for protection, restoration and enjoyment of water resources, and conduct programs that foster stewardship, communication, leadership and action.
“These annual paddling events encompass more than 500 river miles, span more than 50 on-the-water days, and engage more than 4,000 participants,” said POWR Executive Director Jon Meade. “Some sojourns have occurred for more than 20 years, while others, like the Lackawaxen River Sojourn, are new.”
Other upcoming river sojourns include: Lehigh River (June 24-27); West Branch of the Susquehanna (June 25); Susquehanna Main Stem (June 25); and Ohiopyle Over the Falls Festival (Aug. 20). Earlier sojourns this month and in May included: Allegheny-Kiski-Connie, Clarion, Juniata River, Kiski-Connie, Perkiomen Creek, Schuylkill River, Swatara Creek and Yellow Breeches Creek.
Since 1983, a state River of the Year has been featured on posters sent to watershed organizations, local municipalities and interested individuals throughout the state to encourage a statewide focus on Pennsylvania's waterways.
Delaware River Sojourn registration information and other details can be obtained here. For details on other sojourns, and the 2011 River of the Year poster, visit this website. To learn more about DCNR’s Rivers Program, visit here.