For the second year in a row the Stonycreek River was nominated for Pennsylvania River of the Year. Last year the Stonycreek lost out to the Delaware River for the honor. This year the Stonycreek was up against the Kiskiminetas River, the Middle Monongahela River, and the Upper Juniata River. This was the second year that the River was chosen by the public through an online vote. This year it the Stonycreek beat the other rivers to become Pennsylvania River of the Year for 2012. The award is a cooperative effort between the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers and the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources.
The Stonycreek River is one of the premier rivers in the Johnstown area. The riverhead begins north of Berlin and empties into the Little Conemaugh River in Johnstown. During its trip, it passes through Shanksville, Stoystown, and Hooversville.
The river was nominated because of its successful comeback from pollution and its continued balance between business, conservation and recreation. Thirty years ago the river was considered dead because of pollution caused by mine drainage. It was considered one of the worst polluted rivers in the state. Through the efforts of state and local governments, private businesses and public groups and organizations, the river is once again alive.
With the improvement to the river’s condition, come improved recreation opportunities. The river is a great spot for fishing for one of the river’s 22 species of fish. It is also the scenic beauty behind Greenhouse Park and the James Mayer Riverwalk in Johnstown. The river has become a premier destination for paddlers from around the country because of its whitewater opportunities. The river is the site every year of the Stonycreek Rendezvous which is presented by the Benscreek Canoe Club. The club, along with other government agencies is also responsible for the development of a Whitewater Park located at Greenhouse Park. This has also led to the development of new businesses like Coal Tubbin’offering tubing tours on the river.
What does the win mean to the area? One thing is that it means is that the municipalities along the river are recognized for its efforts in cleaning up and taking care of the river. It means that the river will be the center for yearlong celebrations of the river which will bring more tourism to the towns along the river. It also means that the Stonycreek will be the location for a major sojourn along the river. This will once again bring many visitors to the area to experience the Stonycreek. Check back here for more information on sojourns as it becomes available.
So congratulations to the Stonycreek River on the well-deserved recognition as the Pennsylvania River of the Year for 2012.
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