June is “Rivers Month” in Pennsylvania, where the Commonwealth celebrates our natural waterways and encourages stewardship of the life-sustaining resource.
The month provides opportunities to showcase the Pennsylvania River of the Year, which is designated by an annual contest administered by the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources and the PA Organization of Waterways & Rivers.
This year, Loyalsock Creek competed against four other waterways and earned the honor with 6,100 out of 15,061 votes. Loyalsock Creek is a 64-mile stream that runs into the West Branch Susquehanna River in Lycoming County, one of the two counties served by CleanScapes.
Rivers Month is an opportune time to take a moment to consider the importance of our rivers – especially as we embark on the hottest season of the year, when rivers and streams often become a refuge from the heat.
Their function as a natural cooling zone is the top of the iceberg, so to speak. In addition to the obvious (rivers are a source of water!), rivers and the life they sustain provide food, medicine, and building materials; help moderate floods and droughts; support forests; and replenish groundwater. Water trails are also a fun way to travel and explore the outdoors.
It’s for these reasons – and so many more – that CleanScapes volunteers are committed to the mission of keeping our waterways clear of debris and contamination.
Our volunteers plan several cleanup events in Clinton and Lycoming Counties each year, helping to restore nature’s beauty by removing tires and litter from waterways and clearing illegal dumpsites, which often are near the banks of rivers and streams.
The next cleanup is planned for July 21. Learn more about what a typical cleanup is like here, or how to get involved here.
To learn more about river conservation programs in Pennsylvania, visit the state Department of Conservation & Natural Resources website here.
Details about the River of the Year Program and Loyalsock Creek can be found here.
The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association – a nonprofit dedicated to protecting, improving, and preserving the health of the Middle Susquehanna River Watershed – is planning several events this year on the Loyalsock Creek, including two this month: the 2018 PA River of the Year Celebration on June 22 and the River of the Year Paddle on June 23. Learn more here.