Royersford >> The 20th Annual Schuylkill River Sojourn is winding down, and kayakers paddled through Montgomery and Chester counties on Wednesday.
With an “Ahoy Royersford” from river guide Jeremy Quant, the 105 kayakers docked at Royersford’s riverfront.
“I forgot how nice this new dock is. It’s fantastic,” said Quant, who’s led the sojourn for two years, following in his father’s footsteps, who was a guide in the past 19 tours of the Schuylkill Sojourn. “So good to be here.”
After getting out of their boats, with the help of members of the Royersford fire and police department, kayakers made their way to Victory Park for lunch.
Royersford Borough Council President Anil Dham spoke to the group about the history of Royersford and its effort toward revitalization.
“Thanks to all the sojourns for bringing attention to the Schuylkill,” Dham said. “The river was key to the expansion of Royersford … The Schuylkill River is an asset to us. It’s something that makes us unique.”
Dham spoke of converting the area in Royersford around the river into a recreational space so that it is sustainable for “the next 100 years.”
Rick Lewis from Lewis Environmental also spoke about the same sentiment.
“We’re really looking to add some destination facilities and restaurants,” Lewis said.
Lewis talked about efforts to “save the trestle” that would connect Royersford to the Schuylkill Trail. He said he hopes for a ribbon cutting next year, as it will be the 100th anniversary of the trestle being built. There has already been $50,000 raised, according to Lewis.
Friday will conclude the group’s week-long journey of 112-miles from Schuylkill County to Philadelphia.
“On Friday they will pull into Boat House Row,” said Elaine Schaefer, executive director of the Schuylkill River Greenway Association.
As it is the 20th anniversary of the sojourn down the river, Schaefer said the association “tried to make it a little special” this year. She mentioned a “big celebration” in Pottstown, where the company is located.
Cindy Dunn, one of the original architects of the Sojourn, had the idea to start the event to “get more people on the river,” according to Schaefer. This way people who weren’t knowledgeable about the Schuylkill would have the opportunity to learn and explore it.
Kayakers travel between 13 and 18 miles each day in their weeklong guided tour, “that celebrates the river as a valuable natural and recreational resource,” according to the press release.
“Having grown up on the Schuylkill sojourn and Pennsylvania sojourns in general,” Quant said, “it’s been very encouraging to see the efforts to conserve the river.”
There are about 20 different sojourns in the area, according to Schaefer.