GREENVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – Below the Pymatuning Reservoir is where a kayaking trip begins down what’s known as the Shenango River Water Trail. It’s led by Carried Away Outfitters of Greenville. Owner Casey Shilling hopes the River of the Year designation will help.
“Being an outfitter on the river, it’s definitely going to help put this area on the map,” Shilling said.
Shilling started the business in 2012, a year after the Shenango River Watchers started removing trees clogging the river.
“Heck, the first eight miles, I think, they removed close to 60 downed trees. They hired local Amish. They came in with their big Belgian horses. They cut the trees out,” Shilling said
Carried Away Outfitters started with a few kayaks and Shilling himself. Today there are 50 kayaks, three vans and a short bus.
“We’ve grown exponentially,” Shilling said.
Joan Christy is an environmental scientist and a long time member of Shenango River Watchers, which drove the effort for the River of the Year designation.
Christy says issues at Sharon’s Westinghouse Plant led to the pollution of the river but even through the industrial areas, the Shengano is today significantly cleaner.
“It’s a wonderful river since years ago when it was polluted,” Christy said. “All the work that’s been done to clean it up both by the government with Super Find Sites and the River Watchers itself.”
There are several dams along the Shenango, which Christy said could be removed though there are no plans to get that done. At the very least, she would like portages around the dams, making the river safe for kayakers from the headwaters to the mouth.
“Oh, that would certainly be the dream, yes,” she said.
The River of the Year designation comes with a $10,000 prize for the Shenango River Watchers. Some of the money will be used for two paddle festivals this year on June 19 and October 9.