Tim Palmer and the Protection of Our Rivers

The Susquehanna River is the heart of our Greenway. Its free-flowing waters and abundant resources nourish the animals, people, and communities that call it home. From the mountains and picturesque landscapes, to the tributary streams that feed its path across the state, the Susquehanna is Wild; and no one is more poised to celebrate that characteristic than author and conservationist, Tim Palmer.

An avid paddler, adventurer, and gifted photographer, Tim Palmer joined members of the Susquehanna community at Lycoming College on September 11th for an engaging presentation on his recent book Wild and Scenic Rivers; An American Legacy. Palmer, who has traveled the country documenting and advocating for the preservation of scenic rivers, gave a brief history of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, as well as an overview of his involvement with the preservation of some of the nation’s most beautiful rivers.

The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership was privileged to be among those organizations invited to the presentation to share more about the Susquehanna and in turn grow our knowledge of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. SGP Executive Director Tali MacArthur noted, “Mr. Palmer’s passion for rivers and the stories they tell could not have been more contagious. It is exactly this passion that makes us proud of our own mighty Susquehanna and the tributaries that nourish it.”

As a student at Penn State University under Professor Peter Fletcher, Palmer began his career in the Susquehanna watershed. Palmer’s scholarship on a water-based study and land use plan of the Pine Creek watershed led the creek to be considered for national Wild and Scenic designation in the 1970s. Though it was not chosen for national status, the creek did become protected under state legislation. After graduating, Palmer was hired by Jerry Walls, current board president of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, to work for the Lycoming County Planning Commission where he stayed until 1980. At the time, Palmer had secured a handful of book deals, and since then has become the author and photographer of twenty-six books about rivers, the American landscape, and adventure travel.

Palmer’s talk at Lycoming College was reflective and inspiring—it both mourned the loss of scenic river valleys due to the construction of dams across America, and celebrated those successful efforts to protect and preserve free-flowing rivers throughout the nation.

While the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act has safeguarded 208 major rivers in the United States since its inception, Tim Palmer has preserved America’s rivers in his own way. His words and photographs inspire people each day to get out on their rivers and work to protect their natural beauty and resources for generations to come. 

The event attracted a full audience—from students to community members—and the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership was honored to be a part of it. During his talk, Palmer lauded SGP and organizations like it, who exist to promote the recreational value and resources of our rivers for their greater preservation in years to come.

The presentation was made possible by the generosity of Jerry and Joy Walls, as well as members of the Lycoming College Clean Water Institute.

Tim Palmer currently resides in Oregon, which is home to 50 of the major rivers in the Wild and Scenic system. For more information about Palmer or to purchase his books visit  www.timpalmer.org or www.amazon.com. Have a few minutes? See Tim Palmer in action by watching this segment by Freshwaters Illustrated entitled “Protected: A Wild and Scenic River Portrait.”