The Perki-Bay Expedition is designed to be a resource awareness campaign centered on the protection of the Perkiomen Creek.
The Perki-Bay expedition is a 5-day canoe trip where members of our youth conservation program paddle the Perkiomen Creek from its source in Schwenksville to the Delaware Bay. Our goal for this expedition is to generate increased community support for the protection of the creek and for the Conservancy’s new Water Quality Monitoring Program.
2020 Expedition Quick Facts:
Dates: June 22 – 26, 2020
Total Mileage: 50 Miles
Paddling the trip:
Conservation Corps Members, College interns, Conservancy Staff, Research Members, and Safety Boats
Day 1 – PWC Headquarters to Lower Perkiomen Park
(11 miles – Perkiomen Creek)
Day 2 – To Conshohocken (9 miles – Perkiomen Creek/Schuylkill River)
Day 3 – To Philadelphia Canoe Club (12 miles – Schuylkill River)
Day 4 – To Bartram's Garden (10 miles – Schuylkill River/Delaware River)
Day 5 – To Fort Mifflin (8 miles – Delaware River)
Create Community Awareness and Engagement
Increase protection for the Perkiomen Creek
Establish the Perkiomen Creek as a PA State Water Trail
Highlight the Perkiomen Creek's conservation partners
Develop a Citizen Science Monitoring Program
Create a network of strategic data points and tests
to monitor water quality and creek health
Provide Learning Opportunities for Youth
Expedition to serve as a capstone project for the
PWC Youth Conservation Corps
Provide experiential learning opportunities for local high school and college students
Publish an Expedition Documentary
Highlight conservation needs and challenges for the Perkiomen Creek
Showcase the PWC's conservation partners
Explore the recreational opportunities the Perkiomen Creek affords
Document the expedition and use the
documentary as a teaching tool
Disseminate the documentary to the local community
Contact Ryan Beltz to learn how
you or your business can get involved!
Sponsor - Financial Contributor
50 Mile Club - $50 sponsorship includes expedition t-shirt and recognition on the PWC website.
Flag Sponsor - Flags to be flown on canoes during expedition
$1000 - Full Flag with only your logo
$500 - Half Flag with two sponsor logos
$250 - Quarter Flag with four sponsor logos
Partner - In-Kind Good or Service Provider
Partners support the expedition by providing speakers, lodging, expertise,
other in-kind good or services or the waiving of fees that would otherwise
by incurred by the expedition.
Advocate - Expedition Promoter
Parties who actively engage in the promotion of the Perki-Bay Expedition via email or
social media, handing expedition flyers or passing out expedition literature or
by providing time or space for the Conservancy to advertise the expedition.
Thank you to our 2019 Expedition Sponsors!
Academy of Natural Sciences, Montgomery County Parks, Philadelphia Canoe Club, REI
2019 Perki-Bay Expedition Recap
On June 24, 2019 through June 28, 2019, members of the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy’s youth conservation program embarked on a five-day canoeing expedition. Twenty-two adventurers, including conservation corps members, college interns, and guides, began their journey on the Perkiomen Creek and made their way to the Schuylkill River and ended on the Delaware River. The trip was almost completely self-sustained, with the boats carrying all of the gear and provisions necessary for all fifty miles. Each participant received their own wooden paddle to use on the trip. The purpose of the expedition was to raise awareness for the Perkiomen Creek as a potential candidate for the Pennsylvania State Water Trail System. Along the way, students conducted water quality testing, observed local wildlife, and gained valuable outdoor survival skills. The expedition was also an opportunity for team bonding and problem solving.
On Day 1, early in the morning the group paddled 13 miles from the Conservancy’s headquarters in Schwenksville to Lower Perkiomen Valley Park where they camped for the night. Following lunch at Cranberry Park, the first leg of the journey included one quick portage over the Indian Head Dam. The day was filled with beautiful scenery and local wildlife, including white-tailed deer and a few bald eagles. Upon arriving at Lower Perkiomen Valley Park in the evening, students conducted their first round of water quality testing; measuring pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and more. This data presents an overview of the health of the creek, which can then be compared to the values of the other rivers on the trip. After a dinner of burrito bowls and completing our respective chores for the night, the group wrapped their paddles with blue rope to represent their paddling of the Perkiomen Creek.
On Day 2, the team woke up early, eating breakfast, and breaking camp. They then began the long walk of carrying canoes and gear below the Wetherills Dam. The park ranger for Lower Perkiomen Valley Park was kind enough to assist the group by carrying many of the dry bags and gear in the back of his vehicle. Once all the boats were in the water and loaded up; the team headed towards the confluence of the Perkiomen Creek and the Schuylkill River. We stopped for lunch … then continued on until the Norristown dam at the Upper Merion Boat House. The group learned about the fish ladder there, while stopping for a snack break after a long portage and photos with an enthusiastic police officer at the new boat ramp recently installed there. After 9 miles, the crew concluded their day at the evening’s campsite, in West Conshohocken, and enjoyed Mountain Meals for a hearty dinner. After dinner, the students conducted their second water quality testing of the Schuylkill River to compare to the Perkiomen Creek.
On Day 3, after a morning of problem solving after disappearing toilets, the team departed from Conshohocken and headed towards Flat Rock Dam where we met with two guides from the Philadelphia Canoe Club. They gave us a safety briefing, aided us through the portage, and guided us through two series of whitewater rapids. The rapids were a success, because for the first year ever, not one person flipped out of the boats. After the rapids and 6 miles, the group continued on to the confluence of the Wissahickon Creek and Schuylkill River, where the Philadelphia Canoe Club resides. There, students received a talk from Danielle, from the Academy of Natural Sciences’ Patrick Environmental Center, about macroinvertebrates and participated in sampling and collection. PWCC Members then had a chance to shower as well as kayak or paddle board if they chose to. We also wrapped our paddles for the second time with rainbow rope to signify our time on the Schuylkill River. Burgers and mac and cheese were prepared for dinner and another round of water quality testing for both the Wissahickon Creek and the Schuylkill River followed soon after. Members of the group slept bundled in their sleeping bags on the Canoe Club’s floors that evening, excited for the next day.
On Day 4, the group departed from the Philadelphia Canoe Club heading for Boathouse Row and the Philadelphia skyline. After managing to evade the rowing teams along the way, we arrived at Boathouse Row for the Fairmount Dam portage. This portage was about a quarter mile long and requires a large collective effort. Luckily, with the aid of wheels as well as some helpful local camp-goers, we were able to move our boats off the dock and around the dam in a timely fashion. Then, in order to avoid reaching that night’s camping location too early due to the lack of shade there, the group ate a relaxing lunch in the shade in Fairmount Park nearby the art museum. Steve Oehlert, our cameraman, conducted interviews of each participant while everyone caught their breath. About two hours later, the crew moved the boats down to the waterline and departed for the historic Bartram’s Garden, only a short paddle downstream. This stretch of the journey offered a beautiful view of Philadelphia. Upon arriving at Bartram’s Garden 10 miles later, everyone set up camp, and rushed to refill water jugs before the visitor center closed. PWCC Members explored the hiking trails around the garden before enjoying a spaghetti dinner, and conducting another round of water quality testing among local fisherman.
On Day 5, with an early start, the group arose ready to tackle the final stretch of the trip. We paddled along the Schuylkill River towards Fort Mifflin, 8 miles away just beyond Philadelphia. As we hit the confluence of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, we stopped for a snack and the final paddle wrap: a glow in the dark rope to signify the Delaware River. With planes flying overhead due to the proximity of the Philadelphia Airport, we took some boat partner photos and readied ourselves for the last mile. After rafting up to brace ourselves for the large wakes created from passing shipping vessels, we arrived at Fort Mifflin and unloaded our boats for the last time. We then waited for our Perkiomen Tours bus which transported us back to the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy with all our gear. After that, it was time for a long shower and a good night’s sleep in our own beds! We had a fantastic trip which allowed PWCC Members to learn more about the Perkiomen Creek, the Schuylkill River, and the Delaware River. Members had the opportunity to not only perform water quality sampling and testing in each waterway, but also experienced paddling through and enjoying these ecosystems. Stayed tuned for the 2019 Perki-Bay Expedition video that is to be released this fall!