Pa.

News for Immediate Release

June 15, 2011

Delaware River Sojourn Highlights ‘PA Rivers Month’ Activities

Harrisburg – Showcasing the wild and scenic beauty that earned it River of the Year honors, the Delaware River again is expected to draw large numbers of paddlers, campers and other outdoors enthusiasts to the waterway’s sojourn, which begins June 18.

Registration is continuing for the eight-day paddling trip celebrating the Delaware’s selection as Pennsylvania’s 2011 River of the Year by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Marking its 17th year and celebrating the theme “River of Life,” the Delaware sojourn is among a series being held across the state to mark June’s observance of Pennsylvania Rivers Month. The Delaware sojourn ends June 25.

“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 from nine to 14 miles, and a 10-mile paddle also is planned on the Lackawaxen River, a tributary to the Delaware and last year’s Pennsylvania River of the Year.

“Whether joining the guided trip for a single day or all eight, paddlers will explore and experience the Delaware from where it’s seen and felt best: the water,” said Kate O’Hara, communications assistant for the Delaware River Basin Commission and event co-chair. “Program topics this year include water quality monitoring, aquatic life, Native American storytelling, paleontology, and archaeology. 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: North Branch Susquehanna, Thursday through Sunday (June 16-19); 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 at http://www.delawareriversojourn.org. For details on other sojourns, and the 2011 River of the Year poster, visit www.pawatersheds.org; to learn more about DCNR’s Rivers Program, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us/brc/rivers/.

Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101

Editor’s note: The text of the governor’s proclamation follows:

RIVERS MONTH – June 2011

WHEREAS, each year, Pennsylvania joins states across the nation in celebrating “Rivers Month” to emphasize the importance of all the Commonwealth’s rivers. Events and activities scheduled for June reaffirm our commitment to the value and beauty of our river resources; and

WHEREAS, rivers flow through Pennsylvania’s cities, towns and boroughs, providing an important natural and recreational asset to urbanized areas; and, they are a rich mosaic of water treasures providing opportunities for boating, fishing, bird watching and other recreational activities, as well as drinking water for millions of Pennsylvanians; and

WHEREAS, through protective and innovative actions such as the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation Program, the Coldwater Heritage Partnership Program, Pennsylvania Scenic Rivers Program and the River Towns Programs, Pennsylvanians join in promoting the conservation and revitalization of these precious water resources; and

WHEREAS, 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 -- Pennsylvania’s 2011 River of the Year; and

WHEREAS, these Rivers Conservation Plans now encompass 65 percent of Pennsylvania thanks to funding and technical assistance from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Because of local partnership efforts and stewardship commitments 97 watersheds or corridors have gained approved Registry Status; and

WHEREAS, Conservation and appreciation of our river environments represent concepts of enduring consequence.

THEREFORE, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim June 2011 RIVERS MONTH. I urge all Pennsylvanians to reaffirm their commitment to protecting and conserving the quality of our river systems.

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, this twenty-seventh day of May in the year of our Lord two thousand and eleven, and of the Commonwealth, the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

Tom Corbett, Governor

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