ROYERSFORD, Pa., June 7, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards today joined Schuylkill River Heritage Area members and other river supporters in marking PA Rivers Month and paddling with the group in part of its week-long sojourn.
"Our rivers have shaped and nurtured Pennsylvania's economic growth, enhanced its natural beauty and offered limitless recreational opportunities," Dunn told Schuylkill River Sojourn participants during a break in their downriver trip. "Pennsylvania's rivers always have been an integral part of our quality of life, and Governor Tom Wolf recognizes this in proclaiming June as PA Rivers Month."
The sojourn participants were on their fifth day of a seven-day trip that began in Schuylkill Haven and ends Friday in Philadelphia. This is the 19th year for the annual event.
"I could think of no better way to observe Rivers Month than to spend a day on a flowing river or stream steeped in beauty and recreational and historical prominence," Dunn told the group gathered at Royersford's Victory Park. "While often not recognized as such, Pennsylvania's sojourn program is nationally unique.
"No other state has as many paddling trips organized in a similar fashion -- a set of paddling trips on major rivers across the state, facilitated by local organizations -- that engages thousands of individuals and hundreds of local businesses and nonprofit organizations."
"Pennsylvania has so much to offer residents, businesses and visitors alike, and we're working every day to make our transportation system as safe and accessible to all transportation modes as possible," said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. "Whether they're driving, riding or walking, I encourage the public to explore the many trail and waterway opportunities that our state offers."
Both secretaries addressed possible negative impacts to events like the sojourn and its visitor-generated income that a House GOP-proposed budget would have, including the potential to eliminate the support for rivers programs and grants that supplement these sojourn programs. Also, cited by the speakers were damaging impacts to the state's economy if tourism marketing continues to remain underfunded.
The Pennsylvania Sojourn Program is administered by the Pennsylvania Organization of Waterways and Rivers (POWR) in partnership with DCNR. It is nationally unique, distributing grants across the state to local organizations and their sojourn events. Numbering at least a dozen each year, these activities encompass more than 500 river miles and 50 on-the-water days; offer more than 100 educational programs; and engage at least 4,000 people.
"These sojourns are an important part of the conservation fabric of Pennsylvania," Dunn said, "offering the public a chance to see what has been done right in their water world. And, where there is need for improvement."
Along those lines, Dunn plans to participate in a June 22-23 sojourn saluting the Allegheny River, Pennsylvania's 2017 River of the Year.
Complete listings of future sojourn details, key contacts and other information can be found at http://pawatersheds.org/on-the-water/2017-sojourns/.
To learn more about the River of the Year program, the nominated waterways and past winners, visit www.pariveroftheyear.org. To learn more about DCNR's Rivers Program, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (click on "Rivers").
MEDIA CONTACT: Terry Brady, DCNR, 717-705-2225; firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources