Allegheny Still Leads in 2017 Pennsylvania River of Year Contest

allegheny-river-kinzua-dam-outflow-1024x576VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – With a little less than two weeks left, the Allegheny River is still leading the online voting for 2017 Pennsylvania River of the Year.

With more than 7,700 votes cast, the Allegheny has 41 percent of the count while Brandywine Creek has 27 percent. Loyalhanna Creek is third with 19 percent while Perkiomen Creek has 14 percent.

Voting began on November 14 for River of the Year at www.pariveroftheyear.org, and the Allegheny jumped out to a big early lead with 53.4 percent of the votes, well ahead of No. 2 Brandywine Creek, which had 24 percent.

Voting ends on December 19.

Outdoors-lovers know what the Allegheny River region has to offer, and it is considerable.

It matters little what your interest is; the Allegheny River offers camping, fishing, boating, swimming, and hunting opportunities of a great variety.

Its champion is Wes Ramsey, the Executive Director of Penn Soil Resource, Conservation and Development.

Ramsey, a Coudersport native, who has lived in Warren County since 1981, worked for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for nearly 40 years.

“It’s a natural fit for us to promote the Allegheny as River of the Year,” Ramsey said. “We’ve done a lot of projects on the Allegheny over the years, and it’s truly a wonderful place.”

“The recreation it provides brings a lot of money into the region, and it’s also a vitally-important source of drinking water downriver.”

Including its tributaries, the Allegheny River system is the location of the most diverse and populous freshwater mussel habitat in the world and is one of the most biologically diverse watersheds in Pennsylvania.

Eighty‐six miles of the Allegheny River from Kinzua Dam to Emlenton are a federally designated National Wild and Scenic Recreation River and contains seven islands that are protected under America’s National Wilderness Preservation System.

Every year thousands of people paddle down this beautiful river.

Cumulatively, 822 volunteers have donated 6,576 hours to collect 795 tires and 236 cubic yards of trash from the Allegheny Reservoir.

Penn Soil RC&D has taken a very active role in working with community groups on facilitating community improvement projects associated with the Allegheny River over the last 15 years including engineering design and construction of many public facilities such as the Big Bend Bird Viewing Platform at Kinzua Dam, the Riverside Watchable Wildlife Interpretive Trail, upgrading the boat launch areas on the Allegheny River at Big Bend Recreation Area in Warren County and at Tionesta.

“We have worked closely with community groups and public utilities to utilize the available water resources of our ponds, rivers, and streams to improve rural fire fighting capabilities through sponsoring a dry hydrant installation program,”  Ramsey said. “We worked to design and build an ADA accessible nature trail at Kinzua Dam and an ADA accessible fishing platform on the bank of the Allegheny River in Forest County.”

Penn Soil Resource Conservation and Development Council hopes to bring attention to a large portion of the Middle and Upper Allegheny watershed to draw even more people to this haven of hills, streams, trees, and wildlife and educating the public about the value of water quality

It’s not the first time the Allegheny has been the River of the Year. It was also honored as such in 1994.

Also, locally, the Clarion River has been named River of the Year in 1983-84 and in 1996. Another Warren County waterway, Conewango Creek, was named River of the Year in 2015.

The River of the Year has been named since 1983, and for the last 20 years, the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has annually recognized one river as the River of the Year.

The winner of the online voting contest will receive a $10,000.00 grant, and Ramsey said there are no shortage of ideas of what could be done with that money.

“We envision hosting public events and partnering with other area groups to promote the river to the public and its assets to the many communities it affects,” Ramsey said.

This recognition is done to raise awareness of the important recreational, ecological, and historical resources associated with the state’s rivers and streams.

The River of the Year is celebrated throughout the year. Events have included paddling trips, a speaker series, clean up days, photography contests, and more. Partnerships of community groups organize the events including a Sojourn paddling trip. In addition, POWR coordinates the production and distribution of a free poster celebrating the river.

The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administers the River of the Year program. Local organizations submit nominations.

POWR also helps organize and support local watershed associations, as well as the groups who lead a dozen sojourns on rivers around the state each year.


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