The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

August 30, 2013

300-million-year-old Susquehanna River still harbors treasures

By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item

— HUMMELS WHARF - In an effort to help legislators, environmental advocates and media members get better acquainted with the history and status of the Susquehanna River, the Northumberland County Conservation District decided to get them right in the middle of things.

Thursday afternoon more than 25 people kayaked four miles down the river, stopping at various points to learn a little bit more about the river which winds its way through the region.

The Conservation District takes its commitment to the region’s waterways very seriously, and hopes to continue to get support from area lawmakers, said Jaci Harner, a watershed specialist with the NCCD.

“And we’re anxious to keep going as well,” she said.

State Reps. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-108, of Sunbury, and Kurt Masser, R-107, of Elysburg, as well as a representative from Sen. John Gordner’s, R-27 of Berwick, office were on hand, as well as local environmental services professionals.

“Sometimes I think we forget that the river runs through our towns,” Culver said. “Hopefully we’ll be learning and taking this back to our constituents.”

The Susquehanna River is one of the three oldest rivers in the world, said Jim Charles of the Isle of Que River Guides in Selinsgrove.

“You’re on a historic river and it’s here every single day,” he said.

Charles gave a brief history of the 300-million-year existence of the Susquehanna River, which began when the continents were still one land mass and this region was near the latitude as Florida, Charles said, using pieces of river bedrock to show pieces which had coral encrusted on it.

“This shows that this was in an inland tropical environment,” he said.

Today, the Susquehanna looks much different than it did then, but there are some unique hidden treasure along it, Charles said.

Many of the larger islands in the river are use for wildlife propagation and are off-limits to campers and hunters, except for deer hunters after the Christmas holiday, said Pennsylvania Game Commission Officer Steve Bernardi.

However, many of the islands remain a unique home to varied wildlife, Charles said.

“These are some of the last undisturbed wildlife we have,” he said. “These are great nurseries.”

Photos and video by Robert Inglis/The Daily Item