Time to choose a river of the year

Posted on: November 15, 2016 | Bob Frye | Comments

Allegheny RiverA view of the Allegheny River.

Everyone’s played the mercy game, right?

Two people stand facing each other. They interlock fingers. Then, each tries to bend the other’s wrists backward. When the pain is too great, and their wrists have been bent too far in the wrong direction, the weaker one cries out “mercy” and the game ends.

It’s likely the feeling a lot of people probably had by the time election night was over. After months of campaigning and talking heads and polls and scandals and counter scandals, we’d all had enough.

Mercy, indeed.

Well, it’s election time again.

Don’t worry, though. In this case, the candidates are all beautiful and getting better all the time.

The Pennsylvania Organization for Rivers and Watersheds is conducting its 2017 “river of the year” campaign. It’s designed to single out a particular Pennsylvania waterways for special recognition.

According to the group’s website, the project is “an honor designed to elevate public awareness of specific rivers and recognize important conservation needs and achievements.”

Rivers of the year have been getting selected since 1983. This year’s honoree is the North Branch Susquehanna River.

Four waters are under consideration for next year. They are the Allegheny River, Loyalhanna Creek, Brandywine Creek and Perkiomen Creek.

The public can vote for their favorite. That began Monday and continues through Dec. 19 here.

The sponsoring organization for the winner gets $10,000 to hold activities along the river highlighting its importance ecologically, showcase its recreational attributes and more.

The group’s website offers a brief synopsis of each of the four candidates attributes. But here’s a thumbnail version:

The Allegheny: More than 315 miles long, it’s one of the most biologically diverse watersheds in Pennsylvania and home to what’s considered the most varied freshwater mussel population in the world. The 86 miles of it from Kinzua Dam to Emlenton boast federal National Wild and Scenic Recreation River status. It’s also home to seven islands protected under America’s National Wilderness Preservation System.

The Loyalhanna: Forty-one miles long, it starts in the mountainous Laurel Highlands above Donegal and flows through a forested gorge, the city of Latrobe, farmland and woodlots on its way to Loyalhanna Lake. Once an ugly orange because of pollution from acid mine drainage and shallow because of poor adjoining land use, it’s now favored by anglers and, in season, paddlers.

The Brandywine: Beginning as a spring, this creek flows through the Welsh Mountain ridge near where Chester, Berks and Lancaster counties meet. It travels south through rich farmland, down steep wooded valleys, past historic villages and mill towns, and passes nationally acknowledged historic sites on its way to the City of Wilmington where it discharges into the Christina River.

The Perkiomen: This creek drains a watershed in transition. The upper Perkiomen Creek is largely agricultural while the lower Perkiomen Creek valley has recently witnessed an explosion of development. Yet, it remains in many ways “a secluded course that still offers feelings of isolation where a personal connection with nature might be gained” before emptying into the Schuylkill River.

So there you have it. Now get online and vote, one last time.

Loyalhanna CreekA look at Loyalhanna Creek.

Bob Frye is the everybodyadventures.com editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or bfrye@535mediallc.com. See other stories, blogs, videos and more at everybodyadventures.com.

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