| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Alle-Kiski Valley's human-powered boats boom in popularity

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

Sunday, May 30, 2010

While powerboating has been popular for years in the Alle-Kiski Valley, the real boom regionally has been in human-powered boating.

The Kiskiminetas River, which forms the border between Westmoreland and Armstrong counties, has seen tremendous growth in kayaking and canoeing.

Neill Andritz owns River's Edge Canoe and Kayak Rental in Gilpin with his wife, Evelyn. The outfitter offers 22-mile runs down the Kiski from Avonmore to the Schenley section of Gilpin, where the Kiski enters the Allegheny River.

He said his business just keeps getting busier. The Andritzs outfitted 800 customers in 2007. In 2009, the number jumped to a 2,000.

"It is due to the fact that the Kiski has made such a miraculous comeback," Andritz said.

Once one of Pennsylvania's most polluted waterways due to mine drainage, the teeming population of fish and wildlife is testament to cleanup efforts. and has been named the state's River of the Year.

Another outfitter, Venture Outdoors of Pittsburgh, reports an 18 percent growth rate per year in the number of boat/kayak excursions and rentals in the last three years on the Allegheny River.

"People realize the river is a great way to see the area, to see the city skyline," said Lora Woodward, public program manager for Venture Outdoors. "And we build our programs around those landscapes."

The group offers tours upriver, including excursions to Sycamore Island in Blawnox, which has been designated as a nature reserve by its new owner, the Allegheny Land Trust.

The kayak community continues to grow, and organize.

On June 5, Venture Outdoors and local paddlers will assemble for "Paddle at the Point," an attempt to set a new record for the largest flotilla of canoes and kayaks.

They need 1,105 boats to set the record, and currently have 950 registered.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Feds aim to bring Chinese military leaders to Pittsburgh for trial
  2. Number of candidates insufficient for many Armstrong positions
  3. Sheriff pushes for action on Armstrong jail security
  4. Armstrong Junior-Senior High School to pick between grass, turf for fields
  5. Majority of House members sign petition calling for vote on Export-Import Bank’s charter
  6. ‘Coffin-nosed Cord’ was ahead of its time
  7. Gun rights supporters protest Obama’s trip to Oregon after campus shooting
  8. Bullskin Township Historical Society has its own ‘Iron Furnace Man’
  9. Safety of credit cards up to banks
  10. Gone too soon
  11. White Oak rec center plans move ahead