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Clarion River Attracts Locals and Camps

Sunday, August 18, 2019 @ 12:08 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

Toby by Greg ClaryCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Not only is the Clarion River pretty enough for a U.S. Postage Stamp, but the charms of the River also attract people who live there or have their own camps.

(Photo: Docks near the Toby Bridge in Clarion Photo by Greg Clary)

The Scenic Rivers U.S. Postal stamp collection released this year includes Clarion and 11 other rivers outstandingly remarkable for values including fish wildlife, geology, recreation, and cultural or historical significance. The Clarion stamp artwork is from photographer Bob Wick.

Greg Smathers, a broker with Smathers Real Estate in Clarion, explains part of the attraction.

“The Clarion River is one of the most attractive areas for homes and camps,” says Smathers. “It is waterfront property, and prices vary.  There are the two hedges for real estate that we have in our area that seem to work: waterfront and properties with land.”

Greg Clary, who owns a camp along River, is well-acquainted with the River.

“People are attracted for different reasons: water skiing, fishing, boating, and as a getaway,” said Clary. “Given the calm water and ‘highway driving’ set up it offers, there is no better skiing river anywhere. Also, the Piney Lake portion of the River is much different from the free-flowing part, which earned the postal stamp and River of the Year status.”

The attractions of the River also vary between those who live there year-round or seasonal.

Smathers admits that there’s not much for sale at all right now.

“That’s another thing about the segment of Clarion River waterfront,” Smathers said. “There will be a few that come on the market from time to time, and then it will be just come down to where there is almost nothing. Sometimes availability is word of mouth.”

He also recommends going online and check or

“We have all of the listings for properties,” Smathers said. “They can go into the features section and type in waterfront. They can also call from time to time and drive around and take a look.”

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 at our favorite destinations for camping, hunting, hiking– resets the help counter the frenzied pace of modern life.

“The government and the Wild Scenic River program have acquired more of that riverfront property along the Clarion River,” Smathers said. “That makes it scarcer for a private property owner and a little pricier for riverfront property that is for sale. They’re trying to preserve some of the beauty and a nature conservation effort to preserve and control it.

“The use becomes limited and regulated.  You can still paddle your canoe down and look at it.  When I was a kid, we could canoe down the Clarion River and camp out by Gravel Lick on Hemlock Island.  I don’t know if you’re allowed to camp on that anymore.”

We checked. You can’t, but you can still enjoy the scenery.

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