Readers’ Forum

aRiver use

Dear editor:

My name is Penny Shaut and my dad is Dave Wiggers, owner of Wiggers Canoe & Kayak in Youngsville, PA. Recently while going through his articles and information he has collected over the years, I came across the following article that I feel is important to share with the people of Warren County.

I am as a resident of Erie County myself, with a family that loves to travel away from the city and canoe on the river. Being a previous racer, I see that the Allegheny area has HUGE potential for big events, but has missed the mark.

Al Camp, one of the founding fathers of the General Clinton Canoe Regatta (currently the largest canoe race in the country) & USCA , gave this list to my dad in back in 1986. The General Clinton in Cooperstown, N.Y., ( draws in 150-200k people every memorial weekend. The revenue the race takes in itself is well over $250k-$500, besides the residual income the local economy takes in. Mr. Camp stated that long ago that the Allegheny River & Warren Area has 10 TIMES the potential of that race. The list below describes why it could be the largest of it’s kind in the US.

1. The Western PA Conservancy has established at least 36 public access points along the River and most are developed with signs, parking, and launch ramps for pit crews and river stops.

2. The Kinzua Dam provides the ability to adjust the water release and level each year (with the cooperation of the US Army Corps of Engineers). A relationship with Forest Service & Army Corps is already well established.

3. Warren is located in the center of one of the largest Canoe Racing membership populations, which includes PACK, NYCRA, & USCA. All members are within a days drive.

4. The National Wild and Scenic River Act designation gives the area recognition for possessing remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, and cultural value.

5. Route 62 along the river from the Dam to Franklin gives spectator viewing ability the whole way.

6. Large amount of canoe rental & outfitters in the area who offer shuttle service for canoeists who dont race but like to watch.

7. Large numbers of hotels, B&B’s, and campgrounds in the area for lodging, as well as many restaurants for places to eat. Camping is even permitted on the river islands giving the ultimate outdoor experience.

8. Strong potential for sponsorship from many local merchants.

9. The entire area gives people many things to do, i.e. The National Forest, Allegheny Reservoir’s scenic drive, Kinzua Bridge, Chapman Dam State Park, North Country National Scenic Trail, (and now the North Warren Bike Trail, off road bike trail at Rim Rock, and more!)

With all of these opportunities and the beautiful natural resources available, it’s time Warren wakes up and realizes the potential the area provides! These ideas apply to a more than a Canoe Race. What about the currently popular endurance events that include biking, swimming, & hiking; or even geo-caching, fishing tournaments, and so on? I really feel that with the proper planning and community support, Warren could have something truly unique! I would love to be able to be part of something like this someday, and be able to participate with my family in an area that we know and love.

Penny Shaut