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Dates Set For Delaware River Sojourn

For Immediate Release

February 26, 2001

(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) - The Delaware River Sojourn, an annual event to heighten the awareness of and appreciation for the longest un-dammed river east of the Mississippi, will be held June 15 through June 23, 2001. This year's sojourn is titled "2001 - A River Odyssey."

The eight-day trip covers over 70 miles, combining canoeing, camping, and educational programs. Participants can sign up for individual days or elect to go the full distance.

For additional information, check the Delaware River Basin Commission's (DRBC's) web site at www.drbc.net, or contact the Delaware River Greenway Partnership (DRGP) at (908) 996-0230.

Sponsors for this year's sojourn, the seventh, include the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the DRBC, the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, PPL, Princeton Hydro LLC, Rohm & Haas, and the William Penn Foundation.

The 2001 sojourn will begin at Hankins, N.Y., in the Catskill Mountains, and end on New Jersey's Maurice River, a tributary to the Delaware Bay.

The trip offers a chance to experience the diversity of the Delaware River system, which drains 13,539 square miles in four states - New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

An added attraction this year is an art, essay, and poetry contest open to student in grades 8-12 who reside within the Delaware River Basin. The contest's theme is "Delaware: River of Life." Entries must be postmarked by April 15. For more information contact Bonnie Tobin, Delaware Canal State Park, (610) 982-0161.

The Delaware River is not big as rivers go. The Nile, the Amazon, the Yangtze - each stretch for some 4,000 miles; the Delaware (including the bay) 330 miles.

Yet the Delaware system serves up water to New York, America's biggest city. It flows past the world's largest freshwater port, situated in the estuary between Philadelphia/Camden and Wilmington.

Over 17 million people, or 6.4 percent of the U.S. population, rely on the river, its tributaries, and the reservoirs that feed it, for their water supply.

Giant cargo ships and oil barges berth at its piers. Bald eagles search for prey in a world class trout fishery in its upper reaches.

It winds through Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, birthplace of America's Industrial Revolution.

The Delaware is as steeped in history as it is variant in its natural wonders - a fascinating stretch of water that lures the sojourners as well as thousands of others throughout the year who yearn for a river adventure.

Step back in time.

George Washington and his troops row across the ice-clogged Delaware just upstream of Trenton, N.J., on Christmas night 1776 en route to a decisive Revolutionary War victory over the British Crown. Forty-four war ships rot in watery graves on the river's bottom near Bordentown, N.J., scuttled during that war to keep them out of enemy hands.

During the Civil War, 12,000 Confederate soldiers were imprisoned on Pea Patch Island, downstream of New Castle, Del. William Penn signed a treaty with the Indians on the Delaware's banks.

The river flows into the Delaware Bay, which washes by old whaling towns. Upstream it flows beneath the Delaware Aqueduct, which during the 1800s linked canals on both sides of the river. Mule-pulled barges floated coal across the water-filled bridge, thus avoiding collisions with the timber rafts which, at the mercy of the river's flow, were swept by below. The aqueduct was built by engineer John Roebling who designed the fabled Brooklyn Bridge.

Over 150 miles of the river and tributary streams have been included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The tidal reach of the river which starts at Trenton, along with the Delaware Bay, are part of the National Estuary Program, a project set up to protect estuarine systems of national significance.

Members of the 2001 Delaware River Sojourn Steering Committee which is organizing this year's sojourn include:

American Canoe Association, Bucks County River Country, Delaware and Raritan Greenway, Delaware Canal State Park, DRBC, DRGP, Friends of the Delaware Canal, Heritage Conservancy, Kittatinny Canoes, Inc., National Canoe Safety Patrol, Natural Lands Trust, National Park Service, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Inc., Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, DCNR, Pocono Environmental Education Center, Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau, Princeton Hydro, and Upper Delaware Council.