WILKES-BARRE — The public is invited to again vote online for the 2018 Pennsylvania River of the Year, choosing from among five waterways nominated across the state — including the Lower Susquehanna River/Susquehanna Riverlands.
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced the public can vote through 5 p.m. Dec. 22.
The website www.pariveroftheyear.org enables voting and offers details on nominated waterways and the River of the Year program. Voting will be managed through Woobox, an online contest application that restricts voting to one vote per email address.
The free-flowing Susquehanna River North Branch in northeastern Pennsylvania was voted the 2016 Pennsylvania River of the Year.
Waterways nominated for 2018:
• Connoquenessing Creek in western Pennsylvania
• Lackawanna River
• Little Juniata River
• Lower Susquehanna River/Susquehanna Riverlands
• Loyalsock Creek
“Regardless of what waterway finishes first, this competition fuels community support around our rivers and streams, and puts them in the public limelight,” Dunn said in a news release. “All have truly unique attributes; offer incredible recreational opportunities; and offer significant boosts to local economies.”
Nominations were based on each waterway’s conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans should the nominee be voted 2018 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.
“The online public selection process continues to be increasingly popular as it enters its eighth year,” Dunn said.
POWR, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, administers the River of the Year program with funding from DCNR. Presented annually since 1983, the 2017 designation was awarded to the Allegheny River.
“The River of the Year contest allows all Pennsylvanians to highlight the many wonderful waterways they enjoy” said Janet Sweeney, of POWR. “While we formally recognize only one river with this award, we acknowledge the unique value of all rivers and their contribution to the overall environmental quality of Pennsylvania and the quality of life for all who enjoy them.”
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.
To learn more about DCNR’s Rivers Program, visit www.dcnr.pa.gov (click on “Rivers”).
For details on the River of the Year program, visit www.pariveroftheyear.org.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.