CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Dreams of the Clarion River will flow forever thanks to its recognition by the United States Postal Service as one of the 12 forever stamps of a collection of America’s wealth and scenic rivers.
Clarion Postmaster Charles Chrispen and Larry McClain, Manager Post Office Operations
An official Clarion River Postal Stamp unveiling, celebration, and press conference were held on Wednesday morning on the steps of the Clarion Post Office, Clarion Chamber of Commerce, Clarion Mayor Dan Parker, State Representative Donna Oberlander, and State Senator Scott Hutchinson.
“I just found out today that the Clarion River is the only river recognized on this side of the Mississippi,” said Larry McClain, Manager of Post Office Operations.
The scenic rivers stamp collection includes 12 rivers outstandingly remarkable for values including Fish wildlife, geology, recreation, and cultural or historical significance. The stamp artwork is from photographer Bob Wick. Stamps were on sale at the Clarion post office, and it included a cancellation stamp from Clarion.
A large crowd on Main Street cheered the unveiling of the new stamp, but many of the speakers recognized it was also more than a stamp.
“When I think about the river, I’m so excited that we’re going to have the opportunity for this nation to see how gorgeous our river is,” said State Representative Donna Oberlander.
“We already know how special it is. As a child growing up on the riverbank, whether we were fishing, or we were looking for crawdads, and we all knew where the Rock was. We were called river rats, and we spent a lot of time there, and it was a wonderful place.”
Parker explained why he thought the Clarion River would help with economic growth.
“The Clarion River is the source of our community’s name, and I believe it is the way we will navigate our future,” said Parker. “The economic future of Clarion is not some pie-in-the-sky thing like a USDA Office Park, a Medical Marijuana Facility, or a gas-cracker plant located 75 miles away.
“The future of our community is tourism and all the support industries that go along with it. Eco-tourism is a way to grow small businesses, put people to work, and to reinvigorate our local economy.
“The Clarion River is key to the eco-tourism strategy. Already voted Pennsylvania’s best river, the Clarion has a loyal regional following of visitors and is even now a prime economic driver for our community, but it can do more. We must do more.”
State Senator Scott Hutchinson said that the celebration of the stamp was not only recognizing the beauty of the community, but also “the potential for so many great things that can happen here in beautiful Clarion County.”
Building a new or revitalized economy will take hard work, according to Parker.
“With the help of the United States Postal Service, we have been put on the map—or I should say we’ve been put on the envelope,” said Parker.
“Letters carrying the Clarion River Stamp will be sent all over the country. People everywhere will see this beautiful image and want to learn more about our river and about our community. Some of those people will even want to visit, to see the Clarion River for themselves, to explore our riverside town, patronize our businesses, and maybe even stay to build their future here.”
The Wild and Scenic Rivers, in the words of the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, were allowed to remain in their free-flowing state and natural settings without man-made altercations. Designations often resulted from grassroots action by local citizens. With outdoor recreation increasingly popular in recent decades, Americans have sought out clean rivers—whether to swim or fish and gentle meanders or to raft or kayak through challenging rapids. Natural areas near rivers are rich with biodiverse habitats and are favored destinations for camping, hunting, hiking, climbing and moments of reflection—resets that help counter the frenzied pace of modern life.
Clarion Postmaster Charles Chrispen thanked his staff for organizing the celebration and everyone who attended. He also took the opportunity to ask for some help from the community.
“I would also be remiss if I did not mention something about safety and get the word out for people – check the mailbox for bees and snakes,” said Chrispen. “Also, when you see a carrier in the area, make sure your dog is on a leash when you put it outside or don’t let the dog outside until least 10 minutes after carrier leaves. Other than that, I appreciate it. Thank you very much. Thank you all for coming.”
Customers can purchase Wild and Scenic Rivers Forever stamps at any USPS location or on the USPS website.