The public is invited to again vote online for the 2017 Pennsylvania River of the Year, choosing from among four waterways nominated across the state, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced today.
Waterways nominated for 2017 are the Allegheny River (Middle & Upper) and Brandywine, Loyalhanna and Perkiomen creeks.
“There is a spirit of good-natured competition surrounding this selection process that rallies community support around our deserving waterways and puts them in the public limelight,” said Dunn. “These nominated rivers and streams showcase so many unique natural resources, recreational opportunities and incentives boosting local economies. They also show just how blessed this state is with its wealth of major rivers and streams, and committed folks willing to support them.”
Nominations were based on each waterway’s conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans should the nominee be voted 2017 River of the Year. In cooperation with DCNR, selection of public voting choices is overseen by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
“The online public selection process continues to be increasingly popular as it enters its seventh year,” Dunn said.
The public can vote for their favorite state waterway beginning Monday, Nov. 14, through 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19. The website www.pariveroftheyear.org enables voting and offers details on nominated waterways and the River of the Year program. Voting will be managed through Woobox, an online contest application that restricts voting to one vote per email address.
POWR, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, administers the River of the Year program with funding from DCNR. Presented annually since 1983, this year’s 2016 designation was awarded to the Susquehanna River North Branch.
“It is really great to see how engaged people are in campaigning for their local rivers and streams through this unique voting opportunity for residents across the Commonwealth,” said Janet Sweeney, Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.
“The River of the Year award energized all the organizations and communities with an interest in the Susquehanna River North Branch,” said Endless Mountains Heritage Region Executive Director Annette Schultz. “We were all amazed at the volume of supporting votes from the general public, which was a surprising new measure of the impact and success of our work as the official Water Trail Manager, as well as the efforts of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership and all of the Susquehanna River advocates and organizations.
“In addition to the kayaking sojourns organized by EMHR, many organizations celebrated with their own events, and the tourism promotion agencies along the North Branch joined in to promote all of our activities. Because of the award, the Susquehanna River North Branch received extensive recognition and community support. That is the reward we can all continue to celebrate.”
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 just one of many paddling trips supported by DCNR and POWR each year. An independent program, the Pennsylvania Sojourn Program, is a unique series of a dozen such trips on the state’s rivers. These 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 (click on “Rivers”).
For details on the River of the Year program, visit www.pariveroftheyear.org.