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Paddlers partake in 26th annual Schuylkill River Sojourn

This week marks the 26th year of the Schuylkill River Sojourn hosted by Schuylkill River Greenways. Over 275 paddlers who set out from Schuylkill Haven Island Park in Schuylkill County on June 15 will end their week-long adventure in Philadelphia on Friday, June 21.

The 26th annual Schuylkill Sojourn is a weeklong trip down the Schuylkill River. (Photo submitted by Kara Foran)
The 26th annual Schuylkill Sojourn is a weeklong trip down the Schuylkill River. (Photo submitted by Kara Foran)

Paddlers of all ages on the 112-river mile trip made their way through Berks, Montgomery and Chester counties, in addition to Schuylkill, traveling in kayaks, tandem kayaks and canoes. The iconic Boathouse Row in Philadelphia will be their destination and takeout point.

Explore the river

At the start of the trip, participants were invited to explore the river, challenge themselves, make new friends and become stewards of the river. The theme for this year’s Sojourn is “The Living River.”

“We are focusing on the ecology and diverse wildlife of the Schuylkill, connecting our paddlers to the rich natural world they will experience on the river,” Schuylkill River Greenways Executive Director Elaine Schaefer said.

“This theme is especially perfect because more than half of our participants are brand new to the Sojourn and making these new and meaningful connections to the river is really the crux of our mission.”

Paddlers of all ages participate in the Schuylkill River Greenways' annual Sojourn. (Photo submitted by Kara Foran)
Paddlers of all ages participate in the Schuylkill River Greenways’ annual Sojourn. (Photo submitted by Kara Foran)

Threat of invasive species

The threat of invasive species along the river and what can be done to mitigate their impact is another focus.

According to Schuylkill River Greenways, “Each day participants paddle between 14 and 18 miles, with support from SRG’s recreation partner, Take it Outdoors. Highly trained river guides ensure the safety of all paddlers from the safety briefing in the morning to pulling boats out at the end of the day.”

With CPR, First Aid, and water-specific certifications, the guides are prepared for all situations.  A lead boat heads up the day trips, ranging from 14 to 18.5 miles, with a sweep following at the end to be sure all paddlers stay with the group.

Highlights of the week

Throughout the course of the week, highlights have included paddling through Lock 60 in Mont Clare, a Schuylkill River Greenways 50th anniversary celebration, as well as various groups participating, such as Star City Boxing, Discovery Pathways, and The Alliance for Watershed Education.

The primary purpose of the Schuylkill River Sojourn is to draw attention to the River as this region's most critical natural resource. (Photo submitted by Kara Foran)
The primary purpose of the Schuylkill River Sojourn is to draw attention to the River as this region’s most critical natural resource. (Photo submitted by Kara Foran)

2024 Sojourn sponsors include POWR (Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers), the National Heritage Area System, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, among many others.

Upcoming Schuylkill River Greenways events to mark on your calendar are Summer Pedal and Paddle events running June through September, Ride for the River in partnership with Sly Fox’s Can Jam on Sept. 28, and an Annual Art Show and Awards Event serving the Schuylkill in November.

About the Schuylkill River Sojourn

Although the Schuylkill River Sojourn is a recreational endeavor, its primary purpose is to draw attention to the river as this region’s most critical natural resource, and as a source of drinking water for more than 1.5 million people. To learn more about the river and Schuylkill River Greenways, visit www.schuylkillriver.org.

About Schuylkill River Greenways

Paddlers on the Schuylkill River. (Photo submitted by Kara Foran)
Paddlers on the Schuylkill River. (Photo submitted by Kara Foran)

The Schuylkill River Greenways NHA is a non-profit organization with the mission of connecting residents, visitors and communities to the Schuylkill River and the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) by serving as a catalyst for civic engagement and economic development in order to foster stewardship of the watershed and its heritage.

Their signature project is the Schuylkill River Trail which runs 120 miles from Frackville to Philadelphia. SEG also hosts events throughout the watershed, helps educate the community, and partners with other organizations to promote, preserve and protect the Schuylkill River.

Schuylkill River Greenways’ Major Trail Projects for 2024

• Frackville Feasibility Study

• Mill Creek entering construction phase

• Schuylkill Haven Island Park water landing construction

• Douglassville Bridge logjam removal and debris remediation

• Opening and dedication of Truss Bridge in St. Clair

• $1.5 million TASA grant received for Schuylkill County projects


Source: Berkshire mont

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