The Clarion River is one of four rivers being considered as the Pennsylvania River of the Year by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“The Clarion River offers something truly unique,” said John Straitiff, Executive Director the PA Great Outdoors tourist promotion Agency. “It is designated by the federal government as part of the national Wild and Scenic River Act and it offers some of the most sections of river you can find in Pennsylvania.”
“Having grown up on that river and having spent a ton of time there it is absolutely gorgeous. One of the best kept secrets is the brown trout fishing. It is some of the best you will ever find in the region,” Straitiff added.
“The northern Clarion River is known for terrific brown trout and when you come down the river, from the section for Ridgway to Cook Forest, there is excellent fishing and paddling,” said the Jefferson County native. “Once you go from Cook Forest, the river turns into very remote river until you hit Piney Dam where it switches to a deep water fishery.”
The reclamation of the river is also a remarkable story.”In the 1950s, ’60’s and ’70’s the river was severely degraded,” Straitiff said. “It has made a wonderful recovery. Now you see eagles, fresh water mussels and also river otters. It is truly a huge tourist draw for our region and an economic engine.”
It is up to the public to determine which river will earn the designation.
Waterways nominated for 2019 are the Clarion River, Conodoguinet Creek, Delaware River and Lackawanna River.
Nominations were based on each waterway’s conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans if the nominee is voted 2019 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.
Cindy Dunn, the DCNR secretary, said the online public selection process continues to be increasingly popular as it enters its ninth year.
Voting is managed through Woobox, an online contest application restricting voting to one email address.
POWR, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, administers the River of the Year program with funding from DCNR. Presented annually since 1983, this year’s 2018 designation was awarded to the Loyalsock Creek.
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.