June is Rivers Month, and Get Your Tail on the Trail is highlighting the Susquehanna River Water Trail as the Trail of the Month. Log miles on tailonthetrail.org at the location “Susquehanna River Water Trail” through June 30 to be entered into a giveaway of a $50 gift card to a local outfitter. Whether you like to kayak, canoe or even just float, make sure to wear your life jacket and enjoy your time on the water!
Our 165-Mile Challenge has begun! Register online and log 165 miles—the length of the D&L Trail upon completion—through November 7, 2022, to earn a fitness incentive. Past incentives have included insulated mugs, t-shirts and more. Share your trail selfies on social media with #GetYourTailOnTheTrail.
Discover the History & Ecology of the Susquehanna River
As one of the oldest existing river systems in the entire world, the Susquehanna River is a pillar of history, recreation and life in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The river begins at Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, New York. It then meanders through rural areas, farmlands and cities before eventually flowing into the Chesapeake Bay as a major tributary.
The Susquehanna River is the source of drinking water for millions of Pennsylvanians and is an economic engine for tourism and recreation. Though the river’s health is making progress under Pennsylvania’s Clean Water Blueprint, agricultural runoff, acid mine drainage and polluted urban runoff continue to contaminate the Susquehanna, its tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay. You can learn more about the health of the Susquehanna River and how you can make a difference by visiting the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s website.
Locally, the Susquehanna River helps to paint a picture of NEPA’s rich history. Coal mining was a major industry in NEPA, with most men working in coal mines or breakers in the early 1900s. Anthracite coal was easy to find in our region. It was a well-performing, “cleaner burning” coal, which enabled our area to boom and the coal mining industry to thrive.
However, coal mining did not come without risk. Many men died in the mines and at breakers throughout the reign of coal in the region. One of the most memorable tragedies, the Knox Mine Disaster of 1959, caused the base of the Susquehanna River bed to open up, sending water pouring into the mines below. Coal use and mining work were already beginning to dwindle, and this event triggered the beginning of the end for mining in the region.
In 1972, the historic Agnes flood devastated towns along the river, including the city of Wilkes-Barre, and left a historic mark on the Wyoming Valley never to be forgotten. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that shattering event. The Wilkes-Barré Preservation Society has scheduled showings of the Agnes Flood Documentary Project to commemorate the anniversary. You can view the documentary at one of three showings at the F.M Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. One showing is already sold out, so get your tickets fast!
Events on the River
It’s only fit that there are several events along the river to showcase its historic beauty.
Looking for an opportunity to paddle with a big group? Look no further than Wyoming Valley Riverfest! Scheduled for Father’s Day weekend in June, Riverfest is a great opportunity to learn about the river from local environmental organizations, recognize its importance and experience the river firsthand. Attend the festival on land or celebrate on the water—there’s something for everyone at this community favorite. Check the Riverfront Parks Committee on Facebook for the most up-to-date information about the event.
Before you head out on your kayak in Luzerne County, stretch out your muscles with a free community yoga class along the river. All summer long, the Riverfront Yoga Project will be hosting morning yoga at Millennium Circle. Check out their event list on their Facebook page for more details.
Millennium Circle is also home to the famous Rockin’ the River concerts, a series of three free concerts along the Susquehanna River. Gather your friends, visit the food trucks and enjoy the live music as the sun sets on the river.
Events are subject to change. Make sure to visit event websites for the most up-to-date details!
Plan Your Own River Trip
Choose your own adventure by visiting a local outfitter and paddling the river with friends. In Sugar Run, visit Endless Mountain Outfitters for your river trip. Endless Mountain Outfitters is also very involved in several sojourn events happening through the Endless Mountains Heritage Region. Make sure to keep an eye on their events calendar for more information.
Susquehanna Kayak and Canoe Rentals in Falls can gear you up with everything you need for your adventure. They often host fun events like full moon floats and kayaking wine tours. You can also find their boat rental stand at the lake at Frances Slocum State Park.
Float down to Five Mountain Outfitters in Shickshinny for your kayaking needs and check out their camping, biking and fishing equipment while you’re there.
There’s something for everyone available at each outfitter. Check them all out this summer to make the best of your time on the water!