EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has awarded the 2023 River of the Year to the North Branch of the Susquehanna River.

Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Janet Sweeney of the Pennsylvania Organization for Waterways and Rivers announced on Wednesday that the North Branch of the Susquehanna River was selected as the 2023 River of the Year for Pennslyvania.

“Economic revitalization of river-town communities will enhance access to the river; increase tourism; and provide additional land and water-based recreational opportunities for local residents and visitors alike,” said Dunn.

From the New York state line to Sunbury, the northern branch of the Susquehanna River runs through eight counties across the commonwealth, including Susquehanna, Bradford, Wyoming, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Montour, and Northumberland counties.

Paddlers, anglers, recreational boaters, wildlife enthusiasts, and various others use the Susquehanna River North Branch for each of their respective activities.

Invited to vote online, the public submitted 11,438 votes in total, with the North Branch earning 4,098 of those votes.

Of the other nominees, the Perkiomen Creek received 3,110, the Conestoga River 2,490, and the Schuylkill River 1,740.

“The River of the Year program continues to engage our communities by providing a wonderful opportunity to showcase all the nominated rivers and the great work being done in Pennsylvania on these resources. We are excited about the opportunity to highlight the Susquehanna River North Branch,” Sweeney said.

Nominating the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, the Endless Mountains Heritage Region will receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to help fund year-long 2023 River of the Year activities.

“We’re committed to educating the public about paddling safety and encouraging everyone to be responsible stewards for the Susquehanna and its abundant tributaries,” said Cain Chamberlin, Executive Director of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region.