Online voting for the 2013 Pennsylvania River of the Year is underway through Friday, Jan. 18, at www.pawatersheds.org/vote. Finalists for the honors are the Juniata River and Swatara Creek in south central Pennsylvania, the Kiskiminetas and Monongahela rivers in the southwest, the Lackawanna River in the northeast and Schuylkill River in the southeast.
"Individually, each of these waterways showcases unique natural resources and recreational potential," Department of Conservation and Natural Resources secretary Richard Allan said. "Collectively, they demonstrate just how blessed Pennsylvania is with its wealth of rivers and streams.
"This is the third year that our selection process is through public voting. We know the spirit of competition rallies community support around our waterways and puts deserving rivers and streams in the limelight."
DCNR and the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers administer the River of the Year program, and nominations were made by local groups. Pennsylvania's River of the Year is an honor designed to elevate public awareness of specific rivers and recognize important conservation needs and achievements, and the award has been presented annually since 1983.
"We are excited to partner with DCNR for a third year of public voting on River of the Year," POWR executive director Janie French said. "The River of the Year program is a great way for us to highlight the opportunities and challenges facing the state's waterways. As part of the larger river sojourn program, the River of the Year helps connect thousands of Pennsylvanians to the water."
After a waterway is chosen, local groups implement a year-round slate of activities and events to celebrate the river, including a special extended paddling trip known as a sojourn. These water-based journeys for canoeists, kayakers and others raise awareness of the environmental, recreational, tourism and heritage values of rivers.
Pennsylvania's 2012 River of the Year was the Stonycreek River, flowing through Cambria and Somerset counties.
Anglers, boaters and others who use the Susquehanna River for recreation and being asked by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to submit stories as they relate to the Susquehanna River to be shared to be used in urging government agencies to help restore the river.
"For many years, the Susquehanna has been a friend and great company for many of us who have enjoyed the river," PFBC executive director John Arway said. "Whether it is fishing, boating, floating or just sitting on the river bank watching the river flow by, the mighty Susquehanna really is part of our family heritage.
"Right now our friend the river is in trouble and needs our help. Although the government agencies in charge of protecting the river have gathered the facts which show that the fish in the river are sick, that has not been enough evidence to convince others in positions of authority to act.
"Over the last several years, many of you have shared with us your personal stories about fishing the river and your concerns about the changes that are occurring. We invite you to visit our website (www.fishandboat.com/susq-impairment.htm) and submit these personal stories about your good times on the river, and please include photos of big fish or creatures or tubing or boating on the river."
Sunday's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, at 7 a.m. on 1410-AM WLSH, at 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5-FM and on the Web at http://www.wmgh.com/ by clicking the link to the program, will feature collegiate shotgun shooting champion Brady Simms of Lindenwood University, a freshman from North Schuylkill.
This year's Early Bird Sports Expo will be Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 24-27, with show hours Thursday, from 4-9 p.m.; Friday, from 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; at the Bloomsburg Fair Grounds, Bloomsburg. For information and tickets, call 570-594-0252 or access the website at http://www. earlybirdsportsexpso/.
This year's Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show will be Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 2-10, with show hours Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Moday-Saturdays from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., at the State Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg. For information and tickets, access the website at http://www.easternsportshow.com/.