In celebration of the Clarion River’s status as Pennsylvania’s 2019 River of the Year, the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau will share one excerpt each month this year from the book “True Tales of Clarion River,” published in 1933 by George P. Sheffer and the Northwestern Pennsylvania Raftsmen’s Association. This is the final installment to finish out 2019. The story below was written by F. R. Knapp of Clarion and West Chester, PA.

This is my recollection of some of my experiences on the river. One was on a boat loaded with pit posts, owned and piloted by Nathan Ritts. We left from the old boarding house below the covered bridge and had a very pleasant and successful trip to the mouth.

My next trip was from Steel Trap on a boat loaded with pit posts and owned by Bell Brothers and Barr. The first boat was loaded and left with Elmer Bell, Chas. Bell, and Silas McKisson.

We finished loading the other one and left about 10:00 am. Our crew consisted of William Moore, Eddie Martin and myself. William Moore was a most enthusiastic person about the beautiful scenery on the hills along the river and enjoyed the trip more than anyone else I was ever with.

As we went by Clarion the bells were ringing for noon. We got as far as Piney Eddy that day and tied up there till morning.

We stopped all night at the boarding house at the end of the river bridge; and say, if a person never was hungry before, he would be after pulling a front oar all day.

I remember the platter of fried ham and eggs, the big dishes of mashed potatoes, the plates of home-made bread- bake in an out-door oven- and spread with plenty of butter and apple butter; also, the pickles and coffee. And how we men did eat!

We got to the mouth of the river in record time and with no trouble at all. There they coupled the boats into a fleet and went on to Pittsburgh.

That, as far as I know, was the last boat to go out of the Clarion River. That summer the dam was started and built.
There are some things that should be remembered, and the rafting day on the Clarion river is one of them.

Learn more about the Clarion River and find other interesting places to visit in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region by going to or calling (814) 849-5197.

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