Susquehanna River North Branch
Endless Mountains Heritage Region
2 Jefferson Street
Towanda, PA 18848
Few activities beat the serenity that a paddle on the Susquehanna River can provide. In just three months, the ice will have cleared from the 444-mile waterway that is part of the National Park System, and paddlers and fishers will once again set in for much-anticipated recreation. For paddlers who have traversed all or most of the North Branch and main stem of the river, a newly created 444 Club pin is great way to acknowledge a journey that is often years in the making.
Avid paddlers of the Susquehanna River have long marked their progress at traversing the 444 miles of the North Branch that flows through Pennsylvania and covers smaller portions of New York and Maryland. Many have highlighted completed sections of the river on maps, kept notes on journals, or recorded their journeys with photos and video clips.
The new 444 Club was initiated by the Endless Mountains Heritage Region (EMHR) Water Trails Committee to acknowledge those individual's efforts as they seek the elusive benchmark.
Endless Mountain Outfitters (EMO) owner and EMHR board member David Buck credits lifetime recreationists like Cindy Dunn, Rick Shumaker, Scott Arnold, and inaugural 444 member Bill Gibson for suggesting the formation of the club, as well as Judy Lorincz of Mehoopany, who completed her 444 Club personal goal of paddling the entire river a few years ago. A number of people notched some of the 444 miles last year after paddling with EMO from Great Bend, PA through Binghamton, NY to the French Azilum Historic Site in Bradford County.
Dunn is one of those who thinks that the formation of the 444 Club will provide an incentive to get new paddlers on the river and bring long-time recreationists back to the waterway. "This is a great idea that makes me want to paddle the whole 444 again," she remarked, noting that her first week-long sojourn on the Susquehanna began on the North Branch. "That is where I got totally hooked on the Susquehanna," Dunn related.
For Dunn and many other like her, paddling the Susquehanna River is a spiritual experience. "Look up at the Wyalusing cliffs from my canoe, I half expected to see an American Indian," she stated, The portal to pre-European settlement makes her wonder "How many Indians gazed at the river from this vantage?" and "What did the landscape look like then?"
Dunn's favorite stretch of the river is the Vosburg Neck in Wyoming County, with sharp cliffs on one side and verdant forest on the other. "I never fail to hear lots of bird song when I paddle through here," she related, adding that she has seen several Eagles in the Vosburg area.
The winding river is almost addictive, Dunn explains. During her sojourn through the Endless Mountains, "the views were so enticing as I paddled down each reach." She had to know what was around the next bend.
It is hoped that members who receive the pins will be able to provide guidance to recreationists following in their wake as each plans to tackle new stretches of the river, which meanders along the borderline of New York and Pennsylvania before running from the Endless Mountains through Pennsylvania to the Chesapeake Bay near Havre de Grace, MD.