Vote for the Yough as River of the Year!

This year will mark Mountain Watershed Association’s 30th year of protecting and restoring the Youghiogheny River Watershed! As we approach this milestone, we thought it was only fitting to nominate the Youghiogheny River as the 2024 Pennsylvania River of the Year!

The River of the Year contest is an exciting way to celebrate our beautiful watershed, and all the people and communities that make it so special! This award, presented annually since 1983 by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, is designed to elevate public awareness of specific rivers and recognize conservation achievements and ongoing needs.

We believe the Youghiogheny is uniquely qualified for this award. With its rushing mountain waters, slow-flowing meanders, and a rich cultural history, the 134-mile Youghiogheny River is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

From old-growth hemlock stands to unique scour ecosystems, this river corridor is a haven for rare and endangered plant and animal species. It’s a place where nature thrives, and we can witness the wonders of the natural world.

With over 100 trails providing access to scenic vistas and unique habitats, we can explore the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Anglers can cast their lines into the cool, clear waters, hoping to catch a prized wild brook trout. For thrill-seekers, the Youghiogheny offers world-class whitewater rafting, where you can experience the birthplace of this exhilarating sport.

While the Youghiogheny River has faced its fair share of challenges, including the impacts of industry and coal mining, dedicated organizations like MWA work tirelessly to protect and restore this precious waterway. Through their efforts, they have successfully halted harmful developments and improved water quality, ensuring a brighter future for the river and its communities.

Together, let’s make the Youghiogheny River the 2024 River of the Year! Celebration of this designation will be paired with the celebration of MWA’s 30th anniversary as an organization. Highlighting the achievements of MWA and their partners will inspire and empower other communities facing similar challenges. We can preserve the natural beauty, enhance water quality, and safeguard the biodiversity of the Youghiogheny River for generations to come.

If the Yough is chosen, Mountain Watershed Association will receive a $10,000 leadership grant from PA DCNR to help fund celebratory activities throughout 2024! We hope to use these funds to improve and expand our annual float trip on the Yough, making it into a river sojourn accessible to our community members.

Take a moment to celebrate your favorite river, and vote now!