It's time to register for the 2013 Lehigh River Sojourn. Now in its 17th year, the Sojourn offers a three-day paddling adventure meandering through the forests and metro-wilderness of the Lehigh River Valley.

"If you ever thought about experiencing the Lehigh River, this is the best time to do itas part of the Sojourn," said Chris Kocher, president of the Wildlands Conservancy, now celebrating its 40th anniversary. "You have a guided trip with safety officers, and there's educational programs and meals. It makes getting out and seeing the river relatively easy."

"It's such a wonderful coming together of people who are excited about getting outdoors in this special way," said Megan Sciarrino, coordinator of the 2013 Lehigh River Sojourn. Just seeing that connection and having this come together is an exciting thing."

"I had no idea this was here. I had no idea it was this beautiful. I had no idea we would see this much wildlife. I had no idea that this was just in my backyard." That, according to Kocher, is what he has heard from people on their first Lehigh River Sojourn.

The 2013 Lehigh River Sojourn, an educational whitewater rafting, canoeing or kayaking trip down the Lehigh River, runs from Friday, June 21 to Monday, June 24from the rural wilderness of the Upper Division of the Lehigh River in Lehigh Gorge State Park, to the metro-wilderness of Cementon as the Lehigh River enters historic industrial territory.

On Friday, June 21, those who come early, camping is available at Mauch Chunk Lake Park.

On Day 1 - Saturday morning June 22, it's bright-eyed and bushy tailed for a hot breakfast and a day of adventure paddling whitewater rafts with Pocono Whitewater on a dam release Class II - III trip from Drake's Creek to Glen Onokothrough the majestic Lehigh Gorge State Park, which covers 6,107 acres in Luzerne and Carbon Counties. At a halfway stop, there will be a talk on DCNR's Get Outdoors PA Program. Evening entertainment will be a drum circle led by Joe Hough.

On Day 2 - Sunday, June 23, it's canoeing and kayaking from Jim Thorpe to Walnutport led by safety director Jerry McAward and a team of guides from Jim Thorpe River Adventures. Midway through, the trip will stop at the East Penn Township boat launch where a representative from L.L. Bean will present on Leave No Trace. As a special treat, L.L. Bean will have its hundredth anniversary Bootmobile, a vehicle shaped like its iconic laced hunting boot, on display, There will be evening entertainment by guitarist/singer Mike Miskie.

On Day 3 - Monday, June 24, the canoe/kayak ramble leaves Walnutport bound for its Northampton take-out. The scenic trip passes relics from the canal period including a breached dam and the best preserved remnants of a Bear Trap Lock, a river lock used before the Lehigh Navigation System.

Stopping below the Treichler's Bridge at midday, Abigail Pattishall, vice president of Conservation at the Wildlands Conservancy will discuss plans for removal of nine dams on the Little Lehigh and Jordan Creeks.

The Sojourn concludes at the Tri-boro Sportsmen's Club where the last intact Lehigh Canal boat is on display. That evening, there will be closing ceremonies at 6 p.m. at the Pavilion of the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary, 3701 Orchid Place, in Emmaus, where Friend of the Lehigh River awards will be presented.

Participants may join the Sojourn for one to three days. Meals are provided. Registration information is available at www.wildlandspa.org. Preregistration is required. Space is limited. Deadline for registration is June 7. For more information, contact Megan Sciarrino at (610) 965-4397, ext. 116 or email: msciarrino@wildlandspa.org.