Mariton: Delaware Sojourn

June 24, 2011

Boat variety

I spent the weekend on the Delaware River Sojourn.  In Pennsylvania, many river organizations host sojourns on their river to raise awareness .  This was a special year, because earlier this year the Delaware was named Pennsylvania’s River of the Year.  I only went for the upper stretches of the Sojourn, traveling from just below Hancock, NY to Calicoon, NY.  One could sample sections of the river all the way to Bristol, PA.

A sojourn is more than a bunch of paddlers getting together to journey down a river.  While I like reconnecting with friends I have made on past Sojourns, I am attracted by the programs.  The Delaware Sojourn usually has three short educational programs each day.  Many of the programs dealt with the river’s effect on wildlife, since this year’s theme was River of Life.

Don Hamilton - Mussles

One of the programs I really liked was on Freshwater Mussels presented by Don Hamilton of the National Park Service.  Don did his presentation in the water just off of the Butternut Island.  I learned that there are still nine species of mussels found in the Upper Delaware and they are instrumental in filtering the water in the river to make it cleaner.  While I was impressed that there are still nine species, we learned that there were historically 27 species.  Some of the remaining mussel species have been reduced to isolated populations that are threatened.  Freshwater mussels deserve much credit for the high water quality in the Delaware, but there are threats to their survival. 

Lackawaxen River

On Monday, we paddled the Lackawaxen River.  The Lackawaxen River is a tributary of the Delaware, and was named River of the Year in 2010.  Monday’s trip coincided with a whitewater release from Lake Wallenpaupack.  This was a beautiful river with lots of big waves.

Dolores Keesler

I would like to end with a quote from Dolores Keesler.  Dolores was named Lady High Admiral on Day One for her work in protecting the upper stretches of the River.  She kicked off our Sojourn with her recollections of a young girl moving to the area.  The veteran sojourners applauded when she said:  “Once you get into the River; the River gets into you.”  So true.  Probably one of the main reasons I return to the Sojourn every year.