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You are also welcome to join SWA on interactive sites:

Swatara QR Code.  Save to your phone.

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/2018 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



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

Celebrating a Cool River--the Swatara 30th Annviersary

New this year:  Can't make it?  Be a steward. Sponsor a paddler.  canoe/Steward Sponsor Form Upper Swatara.pdf

People benefit from the Swatara Watershed Association and their activities, and may not even know or think about it. Anyone who is connected to the Lebanon Water Authority, American Water Company or United Water Company; anyone who fishes, ...swims, or floats the Swatara Creek; anyone who drinks Swiss Premium Dairy products; and others benefit from Swatara Watershed activities. In other words, anyone who lives in the Swatara Watershed in Lebanon County or approximately 110,000 people, are beneficiaries of our efforts. If you look at the entire reach of the Swatara Watershed adding Schuylkill, Berks, and Dauphin Counties, that number increases to approximately 300,000 people who benefit from SWAs efforts.

                           Visit the Swatara Store featuring gear sporting the SWA logo.         

30th Annual Swatara Float & Clean-up Trip 

                    May 5-6, 2018                                            

Ready/Set/Canoe:  Who says you need a road to take a road trip?   


or print out this page.  Be sure to follow us on Facebook!

PayPal (If you pay for your registration, dues, canoe, and/or a sponsorship using PayPal, please forward your signed forms per the instructions below, and send a 'courtesy' email with a breakdown of your payment to .)  Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Registration canoe/2018 Sojourn Registration.pdfMap & Guide  Swatara Water Trail map and guide 7MB 10.12.2017.pdf; Surface Water Rescue; Evaluation Form Click here to take survey ; Sponsor Opportunity  canoe/2018 Swatara Sojourn Banner.pdf      canoe/Sponsor Opportunity Upper Swatara.pdf; Water Depth; Canoe Guide;   Sponsor List: to right

On-water activities are inherently dangerous.  Please take note of dams like Jonestown and Hershey, which are identified on the map.  Also, river conditions vary depending upon weather, and conditions can change rapidly based on weather events.  You are responsible for your own safety, for registering your craft with the PA Fish and Boat Commission; and must follow PA boating regulations.   


Cell Phone__________          Email ________________________________ 

Describe your craft:  _____ year; _________ color;  _________________ make;  _________________ model

Check All That Apply

q I will help with registration.

q I am experienced and interested in scouting and

         lead canoe.

q I am experienced & interested in sweep canoe.

q I am certified in First Aid & CPR, and I will

carry a first aid kit (provide copy of certification)

q I will serve on the safety team.  Provide copies of all certifications—ACA, PADI, F&B….

q  I will pick up litter. 

q I will help shuttle drives.  Copy of drivers license needed for insurance.

q I would like to sponsor the sojourn.  Contact me.

q Describe your craft—make, color, length  __________________________________

ž Without compensation, I give permission for my photo or likeness to be used in any medium.

ž I understand that I will canoe the Swattie and/or pick up litter at my own risk.


________________________  ________________________

your signature                         partner’s signature

In addition to signing this hold harmless release, parents must accompany minors or designate a responsible adult.

____________________________Parent’s signature


$35 x ___adults = $_______

$10 x ___children = $_______

q I will stay for dinner       I will camp overnight


$35 x ___adults= $_______

$10 x ___children= $_______

Annual SWA Membership (optional) $20  $_______

Freewill donation to pay down the mortgage at Swatara Watershed Park  $_______  SWA is a 501c3 organization.  Therefore, your contributions may be tax deductible.

Total amount enclosed with registration $_______

REGISTRATION: DEADLINE - April 26. 2018 . Mail to SWA, 2302 Guilford St., Lebanon PA 17046. It is important to sign in upon arrival, and so that we know you’re safe, when exiting the Swatara, you must let us know.

Swatara Sojourn
(approximately 30 miles)
Saturday and Sunday May 5-6, 2018
9AM-5PM each day
Description of Event:  30th Annual canoe, cleanup and camp on the Swatara Creek.
Contact information & QUESTIONS:  Jo Ellen Litz, , or call 717-644-4698 If trip is postponed by a day, there will be a message on the machine. email:

(Creekside banners will mark exits)


bulletThe sojourn will last 2 days and 1 night.
bulletWe have safety personnel who have taken safety courses.  Two other participants, Andy & Liz Ramsey, are professional river guides.  Others have various levels of training. 

bulletOnce again, we anticipate 100+ participants.

LIFE JACKETS MUST BE WORN! Also carry a whistle and Per PA Fish & Boat Commission, canoes & kayaks must be licensed.

  Ready/Set/Fish (There is no such thing as a fisherboy.  Catch one, and you're a fisherman.)

START TIME: 9:30AM or as assigned, depending upon # of people. 

We have 14-passenger shuttle vans run by Tom Embich, Ben Miller, and Dick Blouch as well as other volunteers, who will take drivers back to the starting point for their vehicle each day.  Passengers stay with their equipment.  Then, the driver picks up both the passengers and equipment.  An alternative for people with busy schedules is to leave a second personal car at the ending point each day.


PS.  Leaving camping gear in your car will keep it dry and safe.  Again, the shuttle will take you to the start point so that you can bring your vehicle to the starting point.


DONATION: $35/adult/day and $10/child/day (12 and under) helps to defray the cost of brochures, confirmations, and food. Sorry, no refunds.

REGISTRATION: Please pre-register.

DEADLINE - April 26, 2018 Mail to 2302 Guilford St., Lebanon PA 17046. It is important to sign in upon arrival.


Don’t put your or other people’s lives at risk.  Wear your life vest!

Knowing how to read a river will save you energy and increase your enjoyment on the trip.  The challenge for the canoeist is to find the deeper (darker water) channels.  On a river bend, the water moves faster and is deepest on the outside of a curve.  Choosing these channels can reduce the number of times you “beach” your boat.

While many bends are clear of debris, fallen trees and brush (strainers) also pile up on outside curves.  Strainers trap solid objects such as overturned boats and people, but allow water to pass through.  Always avoid getting swept into the bank or into a strainer.   The order of rescue is people, boats, then gear.

Also, water at the base of a dam creates a hydraulic that can pull you in both tipping and trapping a boat and any occupants.  Because they don’t look dangerous, many drownings occur at low-head dams.  Avoid dams!  Listen to your safety guides.

1)      It’s important that we share the water rights to the Swatara with others.  Display courtesy and respect to landowners, other boaters, and anglers.

2)      No alcohol!

3)      Watch for overhanging trees, brush piles, submerged logs, and rocks that could tip you.

4)      Don’t stand in your canoe.  Keep your weight low.

5)      Put your heavier, and hopefully more experienced canoeist in the rear seat.

6)      To signal the canoes behind you, always expose the flat side of your paddle and:

a.      Extend your paddle to the left to indicate a “left turn.”

b.      Extend your paddle to the right to indicate a “right turn.”

c.      Hold your paddle horizontally overhead to signal a stop.

d.      For help, hold the handle and move the paddle in a circular motion overhead.  If you lose your paddles, swing just about anything (except your partner) overhead.

7)      Upstream “V’s” suggest submerged rocks.  Downstream “V’s” suggest gaps/paths between rocks.

8)      To steer left, paddle hard on the right and/or the rear person can drag his paddle on the left.  To go right, do the opposite.

So you won’t be pinned between the canoe and a rock or tree if you capsize, stay on the upstream side of your canoe.  Try to hold onto your boat.  Otherwise, to avoid hitting your head on rocks and trees, float on your back, feet pointing downstream.  Hand paddle to safety.

YouTube Posts from the 2009 Swatara Sojourn:

Ground Hog Band at the Bordner Cabin lunch stop in Swatara State Park on Saturday, May 2.  12 seconds

Elvis on the Swatara at the Water Works lunch stop on Sunday, May 3.  After pizza, in the rain, one-half of the paddlers completed the 2009 Swatara Sojourn.   30 seconds

Swatara Sojourn 2009  28 seconds

2009 Swatara Sojourn 4:09 seconds

Also, a series of pictures is posted to FaceBook.


Newer Pictures are posted in our Facebook Albums from 2008  from2007from 2006:   View Pictures from 2005:  ViewPictures from 2004

Swatara Creek Sojourn Watershed Weekly coverage:      Movie Clips from the 17th Swatara Sojourn (2005)


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