DCNR Secretary Michael DiBerardinis named the Lehigh River as the commonwealth’s River of the Year for 2007.
The designation recognizes the watershed’s role in eastern Pennsylvania history and its promising recreational future. The Lehigh River drains portions of 10 counties and stretches more than 100 miles.
“The Lehigh River is alive and thriving, with water quality better now than it has been the last 150 years,” DiBerardinis said. “There are scores of partners working to preserve, protect and enhance this great state resource, and its resurgence has pumped new life into the communities surrounding it.
“Once a historic transportation corridor for coal bound from Carbon and Luzerne counties to Philadelphia, New York and beyond, the Lehigh River helped fuel America’s Industrial Revolution,” DiBerardinis said. “Now, mountain bikers, hikers and hunters are seen where mules and canal barges hauled coal and other cargo. Where dams once contained the mighty river, anglers in great number now seek trout, American shad and other species found in a healthy waterway.”
DCNR annually designates a “River of the Year” to applaud local residents, governments, non-profit and conservation organizations working to improve waterways and the quality of life in their watersheds across the state.
The Lehigh River winds 104 miles from its headwaters near Gouldsboro, Wayne County, to its junction with the Delaware River in Easton, Northampton County. Its watershed drains Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, Schuylkill and Wayne counties. The Lehigh is the Delaware’s second largest tributary.