Susquehanna River

Photo:  Susquehanna near New Harmony, PA where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey were baptized.

Photo:  Susquehanna near New Harmony, PA where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey were baptized.

 The longest river on the East Coast, the Susquehanna River runs 464 miles before draining into the Chesapeake Bay.  I love driving across the Susquehanna bridge near Port Deposit.  Not only is the broad river beautiful but it reminds me of our LDS heritage.  I recently heard a friend describe her feelings of sacred connection as she stood on the banks of this river where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey were baptized. 

In 2015 a new Priesthood Restoration Church History Site was opened in what was historically known as Harmony, Pennsylvania -- now Oakland Township. (The dedication service is available online.  I enjoyed hearing Pres. Nelson share a description of Emma Hale given by her family: "She was a good horsewoman and a canoe on the river was her plaything.") The new Restoration site includes a visitors’ center and meetinghouse, the reconstructed homes of Joseph and Emma Smith and Isaac and Elizabeth Hale, the maple woods where John the Baptist restored the priesthood, the baptismal site at the Susquehanna River, a trail system, and new statuary. 

It was a revelation to me that the Susquehanna is also home to these gracefully powerful bald eagles.

A point of interest to birders is the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna where bald eagles are often found fishing.  Photos above are from Ralph Johnson (LDS member from Virginia) taken at the Conowingo Dam.  Check out this video of the dam:

If you're interested in exploring the river, there's a lower Susquehanna water trail, a 53-mile-long paddler’s adventure that begins at the New Market Boat Access near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and ends a few miles south of the Mason-Dixon Line at the Broad Creek Access in Maryland – offering a tremendous diversity of natural and built environments. From the gritty Steelton to the Conejohela Flats—an internationally renowned bird habitat at Washington Boro—the Susquehanna is a contrast of working river and wilderness. 

Perhaps you, like me, might take time for a local vacation to explore this river and our LDS history.