The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 23, 2012

50 join in 5-mile 'Grove Float' on river

DANVILLE — Close to 50 church members paddled down a five-mile stretch of the Susquehanna River on Sunday in the seventh annual “Grove Float.”

About 30 kayaks loaded with members of Grove Presbyterian Church set off from Danville’s Fish Commission launch, on Market Street, at 2:30 p.m. While there were foot-high waves during part of the journey, everyone made it to their destination safely.

The event was started when members “decided we wanted an intergenerational activity” for parishioners, said church member and event organizer Bill Gibson. “It’s a fun time.”

Last year’s float was canceled due to the flooding brought on by Tropical Storm Lee.

Gibson said he has been boating “my whole life.”

“I’m a member of the ‘444 Club,’” he said, referring to his paddling of the Susquehanna River’s entire 444-mile length from Cooperstown, N.Y., to Havre de Grace, Md.

Sunday’s trip ended about two hours later at the Point Township home of parishioners Renni and Mary Beth Crane, where a picnic was held.

“I love the Susquehanna River,” Mary Beth said. “I’ve been on the Danube River, and this river is prettier.”

The Rev. Robert Andrews made the trip with members of his congregation. “It’s a joy” to go on the voyage, he said.

The water was “cold, but fantastic,” said Nancy Wagner, of Danville, after the group came ashore at the Crane property. “We do it every year, and it’s great,” she said.

Fellow member Fred Brown agreed, saying that even when the waves were high, “it was a very good time.”

“Always go into the wave,” Andrews advised, as it’s the easiest and fastest way to cut through one.

“We’re a river town, and slowly, we’re learning to appreciate that,” he said. Andrews credited the work of local personalities, such as Danville historian and musician Van Wagner, with creating a renewed interest in the natural resources of the Susquehanna region.

“We need to appreciate what we’ve got here,” said Andrews, who is chairman of the Montour County Recreation Authority. “We’re only beginning to scratch what we can do.”


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