The Endless Mountains Heritage Region (EMHR) is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2023, and one of the most ambitious events on the calendar will provide an unprecedented opportunity for local residents and visitors to the area to take to the Susquehanna River for a week of paddling, camping, food, entertainment and presentations. Participants can also opt for single-day or three-day packages.
The EMHR 25th Anniversary and PA River of the Year Sojourn is planned for Friday, June 2 to Saturday June 10 and will cover 119 miles of the Susquehanna River North Branch Water Trail from Sayre in Bradford County to Shickshinny in Luzerne County. Overnight camping opportunities will be available from June 2 to June 9. The first leg of the river journey will begin on Saturday morning, June 3.
“The EMHR 25th Anniversary Sojourn has been in the works for over a year now,” EMHR executive director Cain Chamberlin explained. “The EMHR’s successful nomination of our North Branch Water Trail as PA River of the Year for 2023 was simply the ‘icing on the cake’ for us, and we’re proud to have this opportunity to showcase our region from the unique perspective of the Susquehanna River.”
The Susquehanna River was indeed the primary transportation route through the area for hundreds if not thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers. For Native Americans, the Susquehanna was the lifeblood that supplied them with bountiful fishing, hunting and fresh water and served as a conduit between the villages they inhabited at various confluences with other rivers and streams.
Native American history is one of many aspects of the Susquehanna’s heritage that will be discussed along the way and during nightly presentations around the campfire. But sojourn participants will also be welcomed into towns that dot the shoreline to sample fare from local eateries and even enjoy nightly activities. Daily themes like Tacky Tourist, Hawaiian Shirt, and Superhero will guide the mode of dress and add another layer of fun to the adventure.
Presenters will include environmental educators, representatives from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, local historians, tourism and heritage representatives, and several elected officials. Entertainment will include music by The Sorters, Kevin Doupe, and others yet to be confirmed. Some meals will be eaten in restaurants, and others will be brought to the river by local catering outfits.
“This is certainly the biggest and best line-up of people who call the Susquehanna River valley home and want to share their knowledge of and love for the region with our paddlers,” Chamberlin remarked. “Our official river managers, outfitters, and sojourn coordinators are doing everything they can to make each day and evening as unique, informative and stimulating an experience as possible. And of course there will be plenty of time to simply relax and take in what nature has to offer.”
The registration link can be found at emheritage.org/events. Below the EMHR 25th Anniversary and PA River of the Year Sojourn is a full itinerary. Distances covered daily average 15 miles, based on the flow of the river between stopping points. Set in is 9 a.m. each morning and always preceded by a safety talk. There are also nearby lodging options for those who do not wish to camp.
Cost for the full week is $425 per person, though paddlers can opt for three days at $200 or a single day at $75. The EMHR has been able to keep costs low thanks to funding provided by the PA DCNR; POWR (Pennsylvania Organization for Waterways & Rivers), which sponsored the PA River of the Year contest; and the generous support of businesses along the way. Additional sponsors and contributions are welcome.
For more information, interested readers can contact the EMHR at 570-265-1528 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.