One of the main attractions of Pennsylvania is the great outdoors. The mountains, lakes and rivers of the region provide abundant opportunities for getting out and enjoying nature all year round.
For thousands of years the Susquehanna River has helped shape — and been shaped by — the state’s landscape. Its watershed drains much of the central and eastern parts of the state, as well as a significant part of New York, and a small part of Maryland, into the Chesapeake Bay. Over the years the river has transitioned from an industrial waterway into a recreational asset.
Paddlethesusquehanna.com is a new site dedicated to highlighting the river’s leisure activities. The site is the result of a partnership between the Chesapeake Conservancy and the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office, with collaboration from several other river-centric organizations.
The home page is topped by a carousel of spectacular images of the four parts of the river: the lower, middle, north branch and west branch. Beautiful photos of many different areas of the river are used liberally throughout the site.
The main sections of the site are accessible through links across the top of the page, or by scrolling down through the home page. The River Map section can only be reached with a page-top link. It features an interactive Google map with markers indicating public access sites, suggested paddle trips and places of interest.
The Paddle Trips section offers numerous itineraries for exploring the river. You can choose which part of the river you want to view. You can also narrow the selection of trips shown by skill level and length. Selecting a trip brings you to a page with a description of the river in that area, the skill level required, the length of the trip, launch and take-out points and other pertinent information. Most of the trips also have an interactive map of the area.
Paddle Notes is a collection of articles and personal essays about different parts of the river. Events is a calendar of happenings on and around the river. Each entry contains details on the event and an interactive map.
The Plan section contains a handful of subsections. About the Susquehanna features facts, figures and some history of the river. Maps, Books & Guides has a downloadable boater’s guide. Water Safety is full of tips and information to keep you safe on the water. Leave No Trace details ways that you can minimize your impact on the river and land. And lastly, the Accessibility section addresses access to the river for people with diabilities. There’s not much content in this section, only a vague discussion about how the river should be accessible to all and that efforts are ongoing to make it so.
Paddle the Susquehanna is a pretty site to look at and easy to navigate. There’s lots of good information in it as well. It’s a new site and I think probably still a little bit of a work in progress. There are some editing mistakes in the copy, a bad link or two and at least one paddle trip without a map. Overall, it’s a good resource for planning a day out on the water.
Kevin OʼNeill has been a staff artist for The Times-Tribune since June 1993. In addition to doing illustrations and infographics and designing pages for the paper’s print and electronic publications, he writes InSites, a weekly column about websites and apps. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5212