Appalachian Basin

Float Your Fanny Down the Susquehanny (America’s Most Endangered River? – Hardly)

On Saturday, Bill and I, along with over 3000 others, participated in the Fanny Float, a chance to float in tubes down the Susquehanna River to raise money for, a charity that benefits special needs children.  If you have never done this event, let me tell you, it was an experience!

Floaters met at Haywoods on the Water, in Linden, and then were bussed two miles up the road to Steinbacher’s farm to begin their trek down the mighty Susquehanna. When we got there around 10 am we were shocked at just how many people had come out for the event, especially since earlier this year the river was listed as the most endangered in the country and if that report is accurate or taken seriously, we  couldn’t imagine thousands actually wanting to swim in water contaminated by hydraulic fracturing. Luckily for organizers, it seemed participants had little concern for this misinformed designation.

Now we did overhear some complaints during our journey. People complained about long lines, the slow movement of the river at this particular section, getting fried by the sun, and not bringing enough beer to last the whole two miles. Bill was not particularly impressed with the tubes I had purchased and several people’s deflated on the journey–but we didn’t hear a single person complain about the water being dirty. The only talk of natural gas we did overhear centered around increased traffic and full hotels, but the conversation never once turned to hydraulic fracturing.

As a matter of fact, some of the individuals who could remember the river back in the 70s talked about how efforts to clean the river have been exceptional and how amazing it is that they are actually able to float in it without any worries–something they never would have dreamed of doing back then. For those of you who are not aware, the West Branch of the Susquehanna does have a history of contamination from acid runoff and over the last few years efforts have been made to restore aquatic life and improve the watershed.  This portion of the river has come a long way and is not the endangered river it once was, despite what American Rivers and the Sierra Club would have you believe.

So we have to offer a big thank you to the Fanny Float organizers, Dean and Amy Kriebel, the founders of Andrew’s Special Kids. Not only were you able to raise a ton of money for a good cause, but you brought back an event that has been a part of Lycoming County since the 80s, provided a venue for a great afternoon with friends and family, and got people back out on the river, despite the misinformation put out there by self-serving organizations such as American Rivers.  Check out this article for more information on the event.

We look forward to next year’s event being even bigger. Bill and I have even already started planning for it!

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