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River Sojourns: Connecting People to Our Shared Waters
Boats are lined up along the Delaware River. Photo courtesy of the Delaware River Sojourn.
Paddlers on the Schuylkill River Sojourn. Photo courtesy of Pat Jackson.
(Top) Kayaks along the Delaware River, courtesy of the
Delaware River Sojourn. (Bottom) Paddlers on the
Schuylkill River Sojourn, courtesy of Pat Jackson.

One of the best ways to learn about a river is to get on it. Interested, but not sure how? Participate in a river sojourn!

Sojourns are guided paddling and camping trips, combining on-water experiences and educational learning opportunities. They are suited for paddlers of all skill levels; equipment is provided, and river guides teach basic instruction and help keep paddlers safe while on the water. The connections fostered by river sojourns have not only introduced more people to paddling and to the waters of the Delaware River Basin but have also made people more aware of how their actions and daily habits can affect our environment.

Several sojourns take place annually in the DRB: the Delaware River, Schuylkill River and Lehigh River all have multi-day sojourns, and there is also the one-day Perkiomen Creek Sojourn.

The DRBC has helped plan the Delaware River Sojourn since the late 1990s. The DRBC's Kate Schmidt serves on the Delaware River Sojourn Steering Committee, which plans the annual event; the committee is comprised of government agency representatives, non-profit organizations, local businesses and individual volunteers who all share the same goals of introducing people to paddling and helping teach about our waterways in a safe, guided environment.

The 2022 Delaware River Sojourn paddled two days in the upper Delaware River, two days in the middle Delaware, three days in the lower Delaware and one day on the Crosswicks Creek, a tidal tributary in New Jersey. This year's theme, The River Rocks, celebrated the geology of the river while highlighting important partner organizations, stewardship efforts throughout the watershed, and the ongoing work being done to improve the Delaware River and preserve its environment and rich history.

  • Learn more about the Delaware Sojourn

The 2022 Schuylkill River Sojourn, themed A River of Refuge and hosted by Schuylkill River Greenways (SRG), paddled 112 miles of the Schuylkill River over 7 days, from its headwaters in Schuylkill Haven, Pa. to Philadelphia, Pa. The theme celebrated the river's ability to provide a place to relieve stress and realign ourselves with the natural world around us.

  • Learn more about the Schuylkill Sojourn

Sojourns enable people to get real-life exposure to our region’s waterways and are a great way to learn and connect with others and with our rivers. The goal is that these experiences will create new stewards of our waters, helping protect these resources we all depend on. 

This mission of education and stewardship is also shared by DRBC's Our Shared Waters (OSW) program.

In 2022, OSW was able to offer two different scholarship programs. One offered scholarships to first-time paddlers to participate on either the Delaware or Schuylkill River Sojourn for a day. This program, geared for adults interested in paddling but perhaps without the equipment, skills or opportunity to do this type of activity on their own, aims to increase diversity of all types among sojourn participants.

Four individuals joined us on the final day of the Schuylkill Sojourn on June 24, 2022, paddling from West Conshohocken, Pa., to Philadelphia's iconic Boathouse Row near the Fairmount Water Works. (Former) DRBC staffer Stacey Mulholland also participated on this day, serving as DRBC's representative and liaison to the four scholars.

Four people also participated on the final day of the Delaware River Sojourn on June 25, 2022, as we explored Crosswicks Creek, a tidal tributary that enters the Delaware River at Bordentown, N.J. Paddling this tidal tributary gave us all the experience of paddling with the tide in a more intimate setting. DRBC's Beth Brown and Kate Schmidt also participated, serving as liaisons to the scholars and DRBC representatives.

These new paddlers thoroughly enjoyed their days on the water! Read more about their experiences in our OSW July Blog Feature.

The other OSW scholarship offered this year funded five youth and their leader from the YWCA Tri County Area, located in Pottstown, Pa., to paddle the Schuylkill River Sojourn on June 22, 2022. The DRBC's Thomas Amidon represented the Commission on this day, paddling with the YWCA team. The SRG offers a Mentee Program, which pairs young adults with experienced paddlers to provide an opportunity for new paddlers to learn from longtime kayakers. The end goal is to empower youth with the skills and confidence to want to continue recreating on the river. This program has proven successful in Reading, Pa., and, with the support of OSW, was able to be expanded to Pottstown this year!

Their experiences will be featured in the August OSW Blog - please stay tuned!

The DRBC thanks all our Sojourn partners on the Delaware and Schuylkill; planning these events is a lot of hard work, and we appreciate your efforts and dedication. We also can't wait to see these scholarship recipients – and possibly you, too – on a future paddle along Our Shared Waters!  

Boats are ready to go on Day 1 of theDelaware River Sojourn. Photo by theDelaware River Sojourn. Catered meals are offered each day of the Delaware Sojourn. Photo bythe Delaware River Sojourn. Paddling the Upper Delaware on the Delaware River Sojourn. Photo by the Delaware River Sojourn.
Boats are ready to go on Day 1 of the
Delaware River Sojourn. Photo by the
Delaware River Sojourn.
Catered meals are offered each day
of the Delaware Sojourn. Photo by
the Delaware River Sojourn.
Paddling the Upper Delaware on the
Delaware
River Sojourn. Photo by
the Delaware River Sojourn.
Camping at Worthington State Foreston the Delaware River Sojourn. Photoby John Brady. The boats are ready to paddle the Delaware Water Gap NationalRecreation Area. Photo by the DRBC. The Delaware Sojourn is very thankful for the staff of its livery, Northeast Wilderness Experience (NEWE). Photo by the Delaware Sojourn.
Camping at Worthington State Forest
on the Delaware River Sojourn. Photo
by John Brady.
The boats are ready to paddle the
Delaware Water Gap National
Recreation Area. Photo by the DRBC.
The Delaware Sojourn is very thankful
for the staff of its livery, Northeast
Wilderness Experience (NEWE). Photo
by the Delaware Sojourn.
Sojourners paddle the Delaware onDay 4 of the Sojourn. Photo by theDelaware River Sojourn. The Delaware Sojourn's High AdmiralAward is given each day to anindividual working to improve the Basin's water resources. Photo by theDelaware River Sojourn. Paddling the Delaware River on Day 5of the Delaware River Sojourn. Photo by John Brady.
Sojourners paddle the Delaware on
Day 4 of the Sojourn. Photo by the
Delaware River Sojourn.
The Delaware Sojourn's High Admiral
Award is given each day to an

individual working to improve the
Basin's water resources. Photo by the
Delaware River Sojourn.
Paddling the Delaware River on Day 5
of the Delaware River Sojourn. Photo
by John Brady.
Day 6 of the Delaware Sojourn started with a steady rain. We waitedit out and paddled under cloudy skies.Photo by the DRBC. Delaware River Sojourn safety leadJacqui Wagner gave the mandatorysafety talk each day. The safety teamwas made up of volunteers from theNational Canoe Safety Patrol. Photoby the Delaware River Sojourn. The sun returned for Day 7 of the Delaware River Sojourn! Folks paddled the Lower Delaware River, with a lunch stop at Washington Crossing. Photo by the DRBC.
Day 6 of the Delaware Sojourn
started with a steady rain. We waited
it out and paddled under cloudy skies.
Photo by the DRBC.
Delaware River Sojourn safety lead
Jacqui Wagner gave the mandatory
safety talk each day. The safety team
was made up of volunteers from the
National Canoe Safety Patrol. Photo
by the Delaware River Sojourn.
The sun returned for Day 7 of the
Delaware River Sojourn! Folks
paddled
the Lower Delaware River,
with a lunch
stop at Washington
Crossing. Photo
by the DRBC.
Members of the Delaware RiverSojourn's safety team take a pic. Thank you for keeping us safe on the water! Photo by Gerard Donati. Paddling N.J.'s Crosswicks Creek onthe final day of the Delaware RiverSojourn. Photo by the DRBC. The four OSW scholars and DRBCstaff are all smiles after a great paddle on N.J.'s Crosswicks Creek. Photo bythe DRBC.
Members of the Delaware River
Sojourn's safety team take a pic.
Thank you for keeping us safe on the
water! Photo by Gerard Donati.

Paddling N.J.'s Crosswicks Creek on
the final day of the Delaware River
Sojourn. Photo by the DRBC.

The four OSW scholars and DRBC
staff are all smiles after a great paddle
on N.J.'s Crosswicks Creek. Photo by
the DRBC.
DRBC's Thomas Amidon (L) & thescholarship recipients from the YWCATri County Area (Pottstown, Pa.). Photo by the DRBC. Paddling the Schuylkill River on the Schuylkill River Sojourn. Photo by the DRBC. Kayaks along the Schuylkill River. Photo by Pat J.
DRBC's Thomas Amidon (L) & the
scholarship recipients from the YWCA
Tri County Area (Pottstown, Pa.).
Photo by the DRBC.
Paddling the Schuylkill River on the
Schuylkill River Sojourn. Photo by the
DRBC.
Kayaks along the Schuylkill River.
Photo by Pat J.
Paddlers head into Boathouse Row onthe final day of the Schuylkill RiverSojourn. Photo by Pat J. Schuylkill Sojourn OSW scholarshiprecipients are ready to paddle! Photoby the DRBC. Schuylkill Sojourn OSW scholarshiprecipients are ready to paddle! Photoby the DRBC.

Paddlers head into Boathouse Row on
the final day of the Schuylkill River
Sojourn. Photo by Pat J.

Schuylkill Sojourn OSW scholarship
recipients are ready to paddle! Photo
by the DRBC.
Schuylkill Sojourn OSW scholarship
recipients are ready to paddle! Photo
by the DRBC.