Voting for Pennsylvania’s River of the Year 2023 begins

HARRISBURG — The public is invited to once again vote online for the 2023 Pennsylvania River of the Year, choosing from four waterways nominated statewide.

“Honoring the River of the Year has become one of my favorite annual traditions and I hope we get a record number of votes for the 2023 competition,” said Cindy Adams Dunn, Secretary at the Department for Conservation and Natural Resources. “Pennsylvania has thousands of miles of beautiful waterways that provide wonderful recreational opportunities, support our local economies, and help connect the public to the history and culture of communities across the Commonwealth. Thank you to the organizations that nominated the 2023 finalists and to those who support our waterways.”

Paddlers make their way to Perkiomen Creek as part of Perkiomen Creek Sojourn.  (Photo of MediaNews group file)
Paddlers make their way to Perkiomen Creek as part of Perkiomen Creek Sojourn. (Photo of MediaNews group file)

The Conestoga River, Perkiomen Creek, Schuylkill River, and Susquehanna River-North Branch are the nominees for 2023 River of the Year. Nominations were based on each waterway’s conservation needs and achievements, as well as celebration plans when the nominee was named River of the Year will be elected in 2023.

In cooperation with DCNR, the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) oversees the selection of public choices. Dunn noted that in its thirteenth year, the online public selection process is growing in popularity.

The public has until Friday, January 14, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. to vote for a popular state waterway. The POWR website at allows for voting and provides details on the nominated waterways and the River of the Year program. Voting is managed through Woobox, an online contest application that limits voting to one email address.

POWR, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, administers the River of the Year program with funding from DCNR. Awarded annually since 1983, French Creek was named River of the Year 2022 last year.

“We are excited to restart online public voting for the Pennsylvania River of the Year,” said Janet Sweeney, Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers. “As we all continue to spend more time outdoors and deepen our appreciation for Pennsylvania’s beautiful natural resources, the annual River of the Year election process is a fun way to rally behind and support your favorite waterway.”

After a waterway is selected for the annual honor, local groups run a range of activities and events throughout the year to celebrate the river, including a paddle tour or stay. The organization that nominates the winning river will receive a $10,000 leadership grant from DCNR to fund River of the Year activities.

POWR and DCNR are also working with local organizations to create a free commemorative poster to celebrate River of the Year.

The River of the Year stay is among the many paddling trips supported by DCNR and POWR each year. An independent program, the Pennsylvania Sojourn Program, is a unique series of a dozen such voyages on the state’s rivers. The water trips for canoeists, kayakers and others raise awareness of the environmental, recreational, tourism and heritage values ​​of rivers. Visit POWR’s website for more information on residencies.

Visit DCNR’s website to learn more about the department’s flow program.