Few rivers—two, to be exact—can be said to have had a truly shaping influence on the City of Philadelphia over the last 300 years. Normally, we wouldn’t encourage playing favorites, but only one of those rivers is a candidate for Pennsylvania’s River of the Year in 2013, making the choice an obvious one: vote for the Schuylkill.
The River of the Year contest is run by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Natural Resources (POWR) and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The title has been bestowed each year since 1983. This is the third year that the winner is being chosen by public voting, according to a statement released by POWR. The last day to vote is January 18, 2013.
“For the river, [the designation] would give it some increased visibility,” said Joe Syrnick, of Schuylkill River Development Corporation, which wrote the nomination for the Schuylkill posted on the voting site. Syrnick added that SRDC would be able to step up its efforts to redevelop and build a greenway along the Schuylkill with the added recognition.
The position of River of the Year is largely ceremonial. It carries no concrete rewards or responsibilities, but rather presents an opportunity to celebrate the river’s 128-mile, southeasterly flow. Over the years, Pennsylvanians from Pottsville to Philadelphia have come to trust the Schuylkill for its fortitude, its clarity of purpose, and its sheer stick-to-itiveness. Which makes it somewhat concerning that the river is currently third in voting, behind the Lackawanna and Monongahela.
Philadelphians should do what Philadelphians do—get out the vote. The Schuylkill River has easily earned the title of River of the Year.