As the New Year approaches, so too do the hopes, inspirations, and goals of our upcoming resolutions. Do you have yours yet? Let the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership (SGP) help! Here are some resolution ideas that you can meet with us in 2024 on and along the Susquehanna River, part of which includes the West Branch Susquehanna River in the PA Wilds region.
Flowing 228 miles total, the West Branch is one of two principal branches of the mighty Susquehanna River and a meandering and beautiful journey through the PA Wilds Lumber Heritage Region. A paddler’s paradise, this scenic water trail flows through remote and mature hardwood forests, past historic river towns, and alongside rolling agricultural fields through. The West Branch Susquehanna Greenway corridor is a must-experience journey in the PA Wilds and includes the river itself as well as the parks, trails, and communities that line the river’s banks.
There’s nothing like starting the year off with your best foot forward, especially if that foot is out on a trail. That’s why SGP invites you to Get Out on the Greenway on January 1st, New Year’s Day, to participate in a #FirstDayHike. (Read the details about all of the 2024 New Year’s Day guided hikes here on the PA Wilds blog.)
The First Day Hike Campaign was started by America’s State Parks as a way to encourage people to ring in the new year by exploring a nearby state park. SGP invites you to do the same at a park or trail within the Susquehanna Greenway!
Not only is getting outside a great way to ring in 2024, but it also offers a first crack at those health-related resolutions. Hiking in the winter can increase your cardiovascular endurance, boost immunity, and has been proven to burn twice as many calories as in the summer. A study by Princeton University found that for 48-72 hours following your hike, your metabolism can even rise by 15%-25%. Winter hikes are also a great remedy for beating the ‘winter blues’—in fact, hiking in the cold weather will boost your endorphins and serotonin for up to a week after your hike.
And once you’re back in your living room, be sure to share your hike by tagging SGP (@susquehannagreenway) and using the hashtag #FirstDayHike. If you’re inspired to make this resolution last, don’t let it be a single day activity! Set a goal to get out on a trail once a month, once a week, or more.
Paddling in the winter is not for the faint of heart, and some careful planning and packing will be needed if you choose to start this resolution early. Be sure to wear the correct gear and your lifejacket; Pennsylvania state law requires all boaters to wear their lifejackets from now through April 30th. If you choose to wait for warmer weather, adjust your planning and packing accordingly. Either way, don’t let a year go by without hitting the water at least once!
In addition to experiencing the stunning beauty and scenery of the Susquehanna River, paddling comes with some unbeatable health benefits. While the specific impact that paddling has on the body varies from person to person, on average, 30 minutes of paddling can burn anywhere from 150 – 210 calories, according to a study by Harvard Health Publishing. Improved cardiovascular fitness and increased torso & leg strength are also perks you can look forward to after regular paddling. The mental benefits of paddling are just as beneficial as the physical ones. Mood boosts, improved focus, better memory, and increased sleep quality are all proven benefits of exercise via paddling.
Prefer to have a little guidance for your paddling adventure? SGP is hosting a Susquehanna Sojourn on June 29, 2024, along the Middle Susquehanna. Join us and meet your New Year’s resolution to paddle the Susquehanna River! More details on how to sign up will be available in early 2024 at susquehannagreenway.org.
Whether you realize it or not, we utilize rivers every day. Be it for drinking water, irrigation, hydroelectricity, or recreation, we need to treat our river kindly because it plays an essential role in our ecosystem and day-to-day lives.
That said, one great resolution to add to your list for 2024 is to give back to the environment! Winter and early spring can be the perfect time to start on this resolution because the absence of leaves and undergrowth vegetation makes it easier to see and remove litter. Make it a point to bring a small trash bag and gloves on your nest outdoor adventures to collect and dispose of any unwanted items that you see along the way, leaving the environment better than you found it.
You can also achieve this resolution with us in April during the Susquehanna Greenway Cleanup Month. Since the beginning of this initiative, 39 locations have been cleaned, 114 trees planted, 2,343 individuals have volunteered, and over 56,000 pounds of trash have been removed from the Susquehanna Greenway. Stay tuned for details on how you, your family, or group can join the Cleanup Month at susquehannagreenway.org/cleanup-month.
If you’ve been looking to combine your outdoor adventures with a dash of creativity, then we have a perfect New Year’s resolution for you. Explore your creative side —and a new hobby— by venturing outdoors with a camera. Outdoor photography is a wonderful way to get out on the Greenway and document your adventures. Plus, SGP has an annual photo contest that can provide an extra incentive to hone your photography skills this winter.
Whether your photos include Susquehanna landmarks, treasured river towns, Susquehanna adventures, or wildlife, there are so many opportunities to capture the beauty of the Susquehanna Greenway.
Once you’ve captured your best work, be sure to enter your pictures into SGP’s annual photo contest. The submission window will be open from May-July 2024, at susquehannagreenway.org/photo-contest. Or, tag @susquehannagreenway in your social media post for a chance to be featured on our organizational account.
The coming of a new year can be daunting, but exciting. Let’s make the best of 2024 together by exploring the outdoor opportunities of the Susquehanna Greenway!
The Susquehanna Greenway is a corridor of connected trails, parks, river access points, and communities, linking people to the natural and cultural treasures of the Susquehanna River within Pennsylvania. The mission of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership is to continue to grow the Greenway by building connections along the Susquehanna River, inspiring people to engage with the outdoors, and transforming communities into places where people want to live, work, and explore. Visit susquehannagreenway.org to learn more.