Every year, more residents are discovering that we have a tremendous recreational and scenic resource running through the heart of our community.

The Lackawanna River runs through the heart of the valley. Thousands of residents and visitors walk, jog, bicycle, fish and paddle in and along the Lackawanna River every day. If you haven’t visited or enjoyed the river recently, it is very likely that many of your friends, relatives and neighbors have been enjoying this gift of nature just a few minutes away from your door.

Lackawanna River Conservation Association, also known as the LRCA, is a nonprofit, community-based organization that has been promoting the restoration and conservation of the river and its watershed for over 34 years.

We have been working with the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority and other groups to develop the River Trail and Greenway System. That work has cleaned up the riverbanks and made the river more accessible and attractive. We continue to advocate for improvements to our local sanitary sewer systems and municipal separate storm sewer systems and practices to prevent pollution of the waters of the Lackawanna and its many tributary streams.

An important aspect of our mission to conserve the river includes involving people who live along it — and across the watershed — in activities that promote the stewardship and enjoyment of our river. We welcome volunteers to join our Lackawanna Watershed Conservation Corps. We are especially in need of volunteers who are recently retired or who

will be retiring soon and would enjoy the challenge of doing physical work outdoors along the river a few days each month with one of our Conservation Corps teams. Volunteers with our Conservation Corps can enjoy additional training and leadership opportunities with the LRCA and network with partner conservation groups across the North East Pennsylvania Region.

Volunteers may visit www.lrca.org and click on our volunteer page for more information and to access a downloadable pdf registration form. You can email at lrca@lrca.org or phone us at 570-347-6311. Our office is located at River House, 2043 N. Main Ave. in North Scranton. You can also find us on Facebook.

We have several activities currently underway that we welcome your participation with. While we anticipate the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions very soon, we just postponed our annual Riverfest from Mother’s Day weekend to Sept. 25. We are replacing the traditional Canoe-A-thon white water paddle race with a new event, “The Lackawanna River VIRTUAL Paddle Challenge.”

You can run the virtual paddle challenge in a canoe or kayak at the time of your choosing when the river is navigable between now and Sept. 23. All paddlers should check the LRCA website to access the River Gage Readings. The best conditions for paddling the Lackawanna are found when the Archbald Gage reads between 2.6 and 3.6 feet. Due to heavy spring rains, the river should remain navigable through early June. Through the summer, it tends to be too shallow, but it will rise after heavy rains for a few days.

Two courses are available: you can launch from David Maslar Park on Laurel Street in Archbald or the Blakely Borough Recreation Park in Peckville. The finish line is at Sweeney’s Beach, adjacent to 40 Poplar Street in the Pine Brook neighborhood of Scranton. Details and registration are available on www.lrca.org. Check it out in the events section at the bottom of our home page!

Virtual Lackawanna Paddle Challenge Awards will be presented during Riverfest at Sweeney’s Beach on Sept. 25. Standings and awards will be determined through the honor system by a ratio of self-reported lapse time with the discharge rate in cubic feet per second at the time of paddle. You can enter the challenge as many times as you like. For additional information about paddling on the Lackawanna, please email lrca@lrca.org or call LRCA at 570-347-6311.

If you can’t get out and paddle the river but would like to do something to help protect the river at home, you could compete in the LRCA’s Second Annual “Street Sweeping Contest.”

The contest runs until July 1. Registration is free, just follow the guidelines, sweep the street and register your results with us online. Cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 will be awarded for the first three randomly selected entries. Winners will also have their choice of a new broom, rake or shovel. Twenty-five consolation prizes will also be awarded. Visit the events section of the home page at www.lrca.org for details. Contact lrca@lrca.org with any questions you may have about this contest.

LRCA conducts monthly Eco-walks along different parts of the river and at some of the river preserves owned by our affiliate, the Lackawanna Valley Conservancy. LRCA’s Eco Walks are held Sunday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon.

These events are casual walks that will feature interpretive discussions about natural habitat, plants and animals encountered along the walk. We will also discuss aspects of geological and cultural history related to the human settlement and its impacts on the ecology of the Lackawanna River.

The walks are free and open to the public. We ask that you register on the events section of the www.lrca.org home page. Additional Eco Walks will be held later this summer and fall. Please call the LRCA at 570-347-6311 for additional information on our programs and events.

Created by local citizens in 1987, the LRCA serves to promote the restoration and conservation of the Lackawanna River and its watershed resources in Northeast Pennsylvania. LRCA co-founder Bernie McGurl has served as the executive director for 30-plus years.