Choosing the best river is a nearly impossible task, but the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is hoping that residents will weigh in. And the DCNR is making the task a bit easier by narrowing down the nominees significantly and judging the rivers on their conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans if they were to win.
Four rivers have been nominated by the DCNR and, luckily for Pittsburghers, three of those are located within Western Pennsylvania.The nominees are: Catawissa Creek in Central Pennsylvania, Connoquenessing Creek in Beaver and Butler counties, French Creek in Northwestern Pennsylvania, and the Monongahela River in Southwestern Pennsylvania. French Creek is also called the Venango River and is a tributary of the Allegheny River. Connoquenessing Creek is a tributary of the Beaver River.
“The value of our waterways has shined brighter than ever during this pandemic as people have visited Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams in unprecedented numbers seeking the natural refuge they supply,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn in a press release. “This annual competition is so much more than a popularity contest. All of our rivers and streams have truly unique attributes, offer incredible recreational opportunities, and offer significant boosts to local economies. This competition shares those wonderful attributes and helps build community support around our rivers and streams, showing just how much they have to offer to the public.”
Public voting for a favorite Pennsylvania waterway begins on Mon., Nov. 29 and continues through 5 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 14, 2022. People can vote at pawatersheds.org/about-river-of-the-year/vote-roy.
Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, an advocacy group for the state’s waterways. Nominees for this year’s 2022 River of the Year award were selected by the public between Oct. 19 and Nov. 15.
The 2021 River of the Year was the Shenango River in Mercer and Lawrence counties.
After a waterway is chosen, local groups then implement a year-round slate of activities and events to celebrate the winding river, including a paddling trip. The organization that nominated the awarded waterway will also 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.
“We are excited to once again kick off the public online voting process for Pennsylvania River of the Year,” said Janet Sweeney of Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers. “As we all continue to spend more time outdoors and deepen our appreciation for the beautiful natural resources of Pennsylvania, the annual River of the Year voting process is a fun way to rally behind and support your favorite waterway.”