“This annual undertaking is much more than a public vote gauging popularity of a Pennsylvania waterway,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Regardless of outcome, the competition builds community support around our rivers and streams, putting them in the public limelight. All have truly unique attributes; offer incredible recreational opportunities; and offer significant boosts to local economies.”
Waterways nominated for 2019 are the Clarion River, Conodoguinet Creek, the Delaware River, and the Lackawanna River.
Nominations were based on each waterway’s conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans if the nominee is voted 2019 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.
Dunn said the online public selection process continues to be increasingly popular as it enters its ninth year.
The public can vote for a favorite state waterway until 5 p.m. Friday, January 4, 2019 at pariveroftheyear.org. Voting is managed through Woobox, an online contest application restricting voting to one 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 2018 designation was awarded to the Loyalsock Creek.
“We are excited to kick-off, for the ninth year, the public on-line voting process for Pennsylvania River of the Year,” POWR Director Janet Sweeney said. “The River of the Year program is a great way for us to highlight the opportunities and challenges facing the state’s waterways. The River of the Year connects thousands of Pennsylvanians to our treasured waterways.”
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”).
For details on the River of the Year program and to vote on your favorite river, visit www.pariveroftheyear.org.