WILKES-BARRE — Home to legions of paddlers, anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts in northcentral Pennsylvania, Loyalsock Creek has been voted the 2018 Pennsylvania River of the Year.
The public was invited to vote online, choosing from among five waterways nominated across the state. Results were announced jointly Monday by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Pennsylvania Organization for Waterways and Rivers (POWR).
A total of 15,061 votes were cast, with the Loyalsock receiving 6,100; Connoquenessing Creek; 5,381; Lackawanna River, 1,676; Lower Susquehanna/Susquehanna Riverlands, 1,113; and Little Juniata, 791.
“There are winning qualities in all five of these waterways that their supporters recognize and respect,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn in a news release. “The number of waterways nominated, coupled with a vote tally that increases every year, showcases both the unique diversity of Pennsylvania’s rivers and the strong community allegiances that protect and enhance them.”
Dunn said the annual honor highlights the state’s wealth of rivers and streams, and recognizes the core of dedicated folks who fight to protect them.
”Public awareness of the Loyalsock’s value will be increased and initiatives along the waterway river will be underscored,” Dunn said.
DCNR and POWR will work with the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association Inc. to create a free, commemorative poster celebrating the Loyalsock Creek as the 2018 River of the Year. As applicant for the honor, Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper, will receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to help fund year-long River of the Year activities.
“The Pennsylvania 2018 River of the Year competition truly showed the depth of the region’s ‘Loyalsock Love,’” said Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association Executive Director Carol Parenzan. “We are grateful to those who voted and encouraged others to vote as well, and we thank our lead partner — Loyalsock Creek Watershed Association — for its unending commitment and unlimited loyalty to this precious waterway, flowing from the Endless Mountain region of Pennsylvania to the West Branch Susquehanna River.
“In the past, Loyalsock Creek was a hidden gem, nestled in the mountains north of Williamsport and enjoyed by area residents and visitors to the 64-mile-long waterway and its watershed.”
Loyalsock Creek flows through Worlds End State Park, a highly popular park encompassing 780 acres, and Loyalsock Trail, a well-trekked 59-mile path providing vistas overlooking the stream below.
POWR administers the River of the Year program with funding from DCNR. Presented annually since 1983, the 2017 River of the Year designation was awarded to the Allegheny River in southwestern Pennsylvania.
In 2016, the North Branch Susquehanna River was honored.