Heritage Region to Host Variety of River Adventures This Year

Youths from numerous Northeast Pennsylvania counties participate in the EMHR’s annual Youth Heritage Sojourn (top) each year. The EMHR will host two benefit paddles in 2024: one in July to benefit Wyoming County Parks and a second in October to benefit the Bradford County Conservation District.

The Endless Mountains Heritage Region (EMHR) put more people on the Susquehanna River in 2023 than ever before and is now gearing up for another season of river sojourns and paddling adventures. Options are available for both teens and adults, cover numerous stretches of the North Branch Water Trail, vary in duration, and run from June through October.

The EMHR has successfully nominated the Susquehanna River North Branch Water Trail as Pennsylvania’s ‘River of the Year’ numerous times, most recently in 2023. “As the official managers of the Water Trail, the EMHR is proud to be able to present so many opportunities to showcase our region from the unique perspective of the Susquehanna River,” said EMHR executive director Cain Chamberlin. “The EMHR and our team of water trail managers, primarily local outfitters, are doing everything they can to make each day and evening as unique, informative and as 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 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. Sojourn participants will also be welcomed into towns that dot the shoreline to sample fare from local eateries and even enjoy nightly activities.

The first paddle of the year is a one-day trip along the Susquehanna River from Oakland Township to Hallstead in Susquehanna County on Saturday, June 1. The 12-mile ‘Oakland Dam Removal Celebration’ paddle of the Great Bend section of the North Branch is possible for the first time due to the completed demolition of the remains of a hydroelectric facility that had become inoperable and dilapidated and posed a significant hazard to river enthusiasts for many years. Guest speakers from American Rivers and the local community will be along to talk about the project and the significance of the dam removal with paddle participants. Lunch is included in the registration fee as well and will be provided by Red Rock BBQ.

Adults seeking a lengthier excursion can join the EMHR’s team of water trail managers for the ‘Susquehanna River North Branch Sojourn’ from Thursday to Monday, June 6 through 10. The 65-mile river sojourn begins with a kick-off celebration and night of camping and camaraderie on Thursday evening in Eaton Township. Paddlers will be shuttled to Laceyville in Wyoming County on Friday morning where they will set in. The adventure will take paddlers through the Nanticoke rapids and end at the Hunlock Township Boat Launch on Monday afternoon after several days on the water. The event is complete with meals, entertainment, guest speakers, activities, and more.

EMHR’s annual ‘Youth Heritage Sojourn’ takes young paddlers from Sugar Run in Bradford County to Tunkhannock in Wyoming County from Thursday to Saturday, June 27 to 29. This unique collaboration between the Heritage Region and Endless Mountains Outfitters provides an opportunity for students from grades 6 to 12 to learn about kayaking, the history of the Susquehanna River and the valleys through which it flows, and environmental stewardship.

The ‘Summer Heritage Benefit Paddle’ will be held on Saturday, July 13, and cover a 12-mile stretch of the North Branch Water Trail in Wyoming County from Tunkhannock to Falls Township with guides from Susquehanna Kayak & Canoe Rentals. The focus of the trip will be Wyoming County’s growing number of parks and recreational opportunities and will include wine tasting with Bartolai Winery, a catered dinner, and live music. Proceeds will benefit Wyoming County Parks.

The EMHR’s paddling season will wind down in style with the annual ‘Fall Heritage Benefit Paddle.’ The Saturday, Oct. 5 event is a collaboration between the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency and will benefit the Bradford County Conservation District. In addition to stunning fall foliage, highlights will include unique views of Standing Stone, Wyalusing Rocks and Homets Ferry and feature hard cider tasting, dinner, and live entertainment.

Pricing varies per adventure, as do amenities and responsibilities – what to bring, etc. – of participants. EMHR’s river events are funded in part by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau, the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency, the Susquehanna County Promotion and Tourism Agency, and the room tax funds of Bradford, Susquehanna, and Wyoming counties. The EMHR is also seeking sponsorships for its paddles and sojourns and has already partnered with Kost Tire & Auto and C&N Bank on the endeavor.

For complete details and to register for the sojourns and paddling adventures, interested readers may log on to EMHeritage.org and click on the Events tab. Those with questions or those interested in becoming a sponsor can contact the EMHR at 570-265-1528 or send an inquiry to contact@emheritage.org.

Participants of the EMHR North Branch Sojourn pause at the Market Street Bridge in Wilkes-Barre in 2023.

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