Today, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined the Shenango River Watchers Spring Paddle Fest to celebrate the Shenango River being selected as the 2021 River of the Year.
“The Shenango River is a wonderful part of Pennsylvania’s natural beauty,” Dunn said. “I am incredibly pleased to honor it and the dedicated folks with the Shenango River Watchers who protect the river throughout the year. The story of the Shenango River is a stunning example of community leadership driving conservation and providing valuable recreation opportunities.”
Dunn joined a group paddling the Shenango from Pymatuning State Park to Riverside Park in Greenville, Crawford County.
The Shenango River winds through Northwestern Pennsylvania, connecting Pymatuning and Shenango lakes with the Beaver River.
The scenic, peaceful river topped several worthy bodies of water to take the honor of River of the Year, including Buffalo Creek, Lehigh River, Loyalhanna Creek, and Tunkhannock Creek.
DCNR works in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, to award the River of the Year.
The River of the Year designation is intended to raise awareness of the recreational, ecological, and historical resources related to Pennsylvania’s waterways.
“We are thrilled to celebrate Shenango River as the Pennsylvania River of the year today,” said River Watchers President. Dr. Brandi Baros. “I want to thank everyone who voted for the Shenango as the 2021 River of the Year, and express my gratitude to the work our volunteers have done to turn this river and its watershed into a paddler’s paradise. We are proud to show off this waterway and are hopeful this honor attracts more people to enjoy the recreation opportunities the Shenango has to offer, including kayaking, fishing, hiking, and birdwatching. Thank you to DCNR and POWR for this fabulous honor.”
Shenango River Watchers work tirelessly to maintain the waterway through fundraising, cleanup and recycling, research, environmental education, and more.
The nonprofit group also hosts more than 20 annual events each year, including Saturday’s Paddle Fest.
“Enthusiasm for River of the Year continues to grow,” said POWR’s Janet Sweeney. “This program truly is a wonderful opportunity to showcase all the nominated waterways and the great work being done in Pennsylvania communities on these valuable resources.”
A commemorative River of the Year sojourn is among 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.
Learn more about the River of the Year program and sojourns on the DCNR website.