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It's all about Clean Water.  Post your pictures of our events, water conservation, floods, pollution.  Share your memories about the Swatara....  Our projects and areas of interest include the Bordner Cabin, Eagle Scout Projects, PA Conservation Corps, Swatara State Park, Swatara River, Swatara Sojourn, Swatara Water Trail, Tenaska, Swatara Watershed Park, and Water Companies

 Planning a Swatara Outing? Tips:

bullet Updated Map  
bullet Swatara Water Trail map and guide 7MB 10.12.2017.pdf
bullet Public     access points about every 7 miles.

For comparison, when the Harpers gauge at our launch @ 1929 Blacks Bridge Road, Annville reads the following heights:

5.5’, the Road to site #1 is almost covered, not             accessible and partly flooded;  


7’ our ramp is covered to the top gravel border; 


9’ the swell puts water onto sites 1-4 & site 8; and


10.56', only sites 26-35 do not flood. 

Depth  USGS Guages  National Weather Service provides forecasts for Harper's and Hershey gauges. Check the gauge nearest your start point.  Beginners should reschedule at 2.2' deep.  Reschedule if experienced, but water is rising between 3.5' & 4', or below .4'.  Kayaks may float a bit lower.  Memorial Lake is an option when the Swatara is too high or too low. 

bulletUse caution at dams:  With groups, avoid low-head dam in Jonestown.  Uneven portage on left bank, which disappears  into tree line in high water.  Hershey dam portage is also on the left.  Long, but flat, mowed route.  Take out at feeder stream on left before warning sign.
bulletU-Tow Canoes Available

Canoe Use agreement: CANOE USE CONTRACT.pdf


Seasonal Primitive Camping Camp/2019 Campsite Agreement.pdf  Fishing, hiking, picnicking 


Visit the Bordner Cabin in Swatara State Park:  Bordner Cabin Drive thru Swatara State Park 9AM-3PM the 2nd Fri & Sat monthly & 4th Fri & Sat Mar, Apr, Sep & Oct.


Most recent Newsletter: 

2017 Swatara News .pub.pdf


newsletters/Swatara News 2018 final.pdf



Envisioning an Environmental Legacy for the Swatara EELS, the Book in pdf file


Mills and Bank Barns Mills and Bank Barns Book.pdf\


 Minutes/Statement of Importance of the Swatara Creek.pdf

About the Swatara Watershed


Watershed Description


Virtual Driving Tour


Maps of the Watershed


Swatara State Park (position papers: Bordner Cabin and Old State Road


Watershed Links (more than 200 links to Recreational opportunities, Schools, local government, and MORE!)


Tourist Destinations (New Feature)


Contact Information/Press Room



About SWA


Our History and Mission


Officers and Board Members


Legacy Giving


Lifetime Members


Become a SWA Member


Support SWA


SWA Newsletters


Meeting Minutes


SWA Awards and Publications

SWA Projects


Canoe Trips and Sojourn




Intern Opportunities

Rivers Conservation Plan


What is a RCP?


About Swatara's RCP


Get your own copy


Read the RCP on-line


View watershed maps

Swatara on Great Nonprofits:


Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

18th Annual Swatara Sojourn May 6 & 7, 2006

"Water Under the Bridge"

Sunny, 68 degrees

Water Flow:320 cubic feet/second @ Harper's & 555 cfs near Hershey

East Hanover to Middletown

Union Canal Canoe Rentals Matthew Dodd sings Union Canal songs.
Sand Beach Bridge I'm a farm girl.  I'm not afraid of dirt.
Boat House Road Park Dauphin County Wildlife Rescue
Indian Echo Caverns
4PM Sunday
If you went on this trip and would like a souvenir CD of the hundreds of still pictures taken on the Swatara Sojourn,  please send a donation of $5 to cover the cost of the CD, case, postage and handling to 2501 Cumberland St., Suite 4, Lebanon PA  17042.  Similarly, for a $10 donation you will receive a DVD of the event.  All movie pictures were taken from shore.
Looking up steps @ Indian Echo Center pier @ Clifton Bridge Troop 20 exits @ Fulling Mill Road
Boat Wrap TMI Towers
Thank you for taking part in the Swatara Sojourn!
Do you know how special you are?  Your team work stood out in my mind as the best effort ever on a Swatara Sojourn.  Congratulations, and job well done.  Your comradery and friendship are touching.
Looking at all of the trash pulled from the Swattie, I think we could both build a house and set up house keeping.  Let's see, there were the front steps, the toilet and seat, siding, a table, chairs, an aluminum pot and frying pan, television, and a street light for outside.  There was a culvert pipe that took two canoes to bring in, a wheel barrow to do the yard work, a new side panel for the bed of a pickup truck, and a boat for the driveway brought in by Justin, Austin, Doug, and Don.  Ted Walke, from the PA Fish & Boat Commission was along, and took down the ID numbers to try to contact the owner.  The tire trailer was too full, and when I came back Monday morning with Tom and Jack, everything was gone, courtesy of Middletown.  The aluminum john boat that was wrapped around a bridge pier was left behind.  To free it, trees would have had to been removed.  It stands as a monument to the force of water.
And didn't the animals put on a great show for us?  Two osprey dove into the water to catch fish--right in front of me.  Wow.  Then there was the snapper turtle whose shell measured about one foot across.  But not to be outdone, a beaver took a limb across the Swattie too.  Other birds included ducks, geese, sand pipers, a red winged black bird, king fishers, great blue heron...the list goes on.
Did you enjoy Matthew Dodd singing and telling Union Canal stories?  The red-tailed hawk, owl, baby opossums, and black snake from Dauphin County Wildlife Rescue sure seemed to be popular Saturday night.
We did get a second load of tires from the Fulling Mill Road site, bringing the total to 100 tires.  Again this year, Brian Kettering was gracious in accepting our haul.  The metal was removed from Hershey Highmeadow Campgrounds on Tuesday, and taken to Brandywine Recyclers.
Again, you are number one in my book.  Thank you!           Jo Ellen Litz

With regard to the boat (PA 6224 SS), we located the owner in our database and our Bureau of Law Enforcement will be notifying the individual of the location of their boat. Since the last registration expired in 1997, there's a chance it may not be reclaimed. Our regional office will be notified of the boat's location at the access. If it remains unclaimed, then it'll eventually be up for grabs.  Ted Walke, PA Fish & Boat Commission

THANK YOU, So much for accommodating troop 20's early exit. They all had fun and this was the first weekend trip they took that it DID NOT rain in years they have a knack for choosing rainy trips but I chose this one so that should say something. HEE HEE! Once again I had a great time and loved the  lunch music and critter lady and leaving the Swattie allot cleaner! we'll be back next year...can I sign up now so I'm first? I'll keep in touch.   Lori Sheffy

I just want to write to thank you for organizing the wonderful Swatara Sojourn this past weekend. Our family had a great time and we couldn't believe that we did not capsize! (Thanks to volunteers that keep us
safe and going).

We actually decided to "camp" at home Saturday because my son was still recovering from his cold. Sorry we did not get a chance to join the dinner, to say good bye and to say "sail well."

Anyway, thank you so much and have a wonderful summer!  Jun Li

Water lovers clean up Swatara Creek
By GABE MINK, For The Daily News:  Lebanon Daily News
Saturday was a good day to get out on the water. It was a day full of sunshine with mild temperatures and a brisk breeze. Add a batch of tires, a TV and vast numbers of bottles and cans, and you’ve got it all.

Volunteers took to the Swatara Creek yesterday in canoes and kayaks for the 18th Annual Swatara Sojourn, a canoe and kayak trip organized by the Swatara Creek Watershed Association.

The yearly journey is more than fun and relaxation. Its specific purpose is to help clean up the garbage that constantly makes its way into the water. And what a cleanup it is.

In a 12-mile stretch of the two-day, 23-mile trip, from its beginning at Blacks Bridge Road Campground to its halfway point at Boat House Road Park, volunteers pulled in a wide array of items from the creek — children’s toys, a television set, 50 tires and a horde of bottles and cans.

“I think the most interesting thing that I’ve seen pulled from the water was a hood to a 1951 Nash automobile,” said Jack Stouffer, a Lebanon native and 10-year volunteer with the Sojourn.

Most of the junk that ends up in the creek is a result of flooding, said Jo Ellen Litz, president of the Swatara Creek Watershed Association for the last 20 years.

“The creek will overrun its banks, and when it recedes, whatever it took with it ends up in the water,” Litz said.

Keeping the Swatara clean is important to the surrounding region, Litz said, because it contributes to the area’s drinking-water supply.

Litz was impressed with this year’s turnout and said it’s the largest she has seen in the Sojourn’s 18 years.

“We had about 93 volunteers sign up, not to mention the 20 or more shore helpers,” she said. “Some people sign up for both days, and others sign up for just one.”

This year’s group of volunteers was just as diverse as their watercraft. Single- and double-seat kayaks and canoes hit the water holding by friends and families and Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, among others.

“I would hope to relax, maybe get some sunburn, maybe get wet,” said Scout Patrol Leader Matthew Hall of Myerstown.

Hall and his Troop 20 of Myerstown joined up to help clean the Swattie. Troop Master Dennis Palm said one of the most important things he would like his troop learn from the experience is “an appreciation for the conservation effort.”

This was the first time Troop 20 has been involved with the Sojourn, Palm said.

The Sojourn volunteers made their way from lunch at Boat House Road Park to an overnight stay at Hershey Meadows Campground. They will end their trip today at the Susquehanna River.

To become a part of the volunteer work to conserve the Swatara and other local waterways or for other information, visit: