French Creek (file)

 

French Creek’s campaign in the 2022 Pennsylvania River of the Year contest continues until voting ends at 5 p.m. Friday.

The annual contest run by Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) pits French Creek against Catawissa Creek, Connoquenessing Creek and the Monongahela River. Voting is limited to one vote per email address, but voters can submit more than one vote if they have multiple email addresses. Votes can also be submitted through POWR’s Facebook page. Voting started in late November and is open to people all over the world.

“We’ve got a few more days. I’m trying to keep spreading the word,” Wendy Kedzierski said Tuesday afternoon. Kedzierski is the recently installed president of the board that oversees French Creek Valley Conservancy (FCVC), the nonprofit land trust that nominated the creek and that would receive $10,000 for River of the Year activities if French Creek receives the most votes.

The prize would go a long way toward making more people aware of what Kedzierski, echoing signage along the creek, called Crawford County’s “community treasure.” It would also come at an opportune time: 2022 marks FCVC’s 40th anniversary. 

“It would be another way to highlight the work of the conservancy,” Kedzierski said. “We would definitely be doing monthly events and things throughout the year to get more people involved and highlight how lucky we are to have French Creek in our backyard.”

While the Monongahela River is larger, more heavily traveled and flows through more populous areas, French Creek has led the voting consistently. By Jan. 5, with more than 11,600 votes received, it had received 48 percent of the votes cast in the contest.

Since then, however, the voting website has stopped providing updates on the vote breakdown after votes are submitted, so it’s not clear where things stand as the competition approaches its final 48 hours.

Andy Walker, past president of the conservancy board, used both of his email addresses to vote early in the contest and was optimistic that the creek’s recent lead would propel it past the finish line ahead of the other waterways.   

“We’re confident,” Walker said, “in the support and love for the French Creek watershed.”

Kedzierski was confident as well and pointed out that simply being nominated was good for the conservancy’s mission to maintain the ​​biological diversity and recreational opportunities of the river’s watershed.

“We’re excited no matter what to celebrate French Creek because it is our community treasure and it’s so unique statewide and beyond,” she said. “We think more people should know about it.”

Mike Crowley can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at mcrowley@meadvilletribune.com.

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