Schuylkill River sees unexpected revival during the pandemic

Paul Kurtz
July 05, 2020 - 5:02 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Schuylkill River has undergone a public revival of sorts over the past few months, an unexpected outgrowth of the coronavirus pandemic.

Derek Jones and Alayna Williams recently took the day off to go spend a few hours of solitude along the sun-dappled banks of the Schuylkill.

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"It's always nice to be near water and you can't always get to the beaches, so this is the next best thing," said Williams.

"It's peace, silence, you're able to gather your thoughts and think of what your next move is. It just kinda winds you down and take a step back and try to be better," expressed Jones.

Going to the river is something that never crossed their minds, until the pandemic hit and the world locked down.

Alayna Williams and Derek Jones have come to the Schuylkill seeking peace and quiet.
Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio
"I really don’t want to be anywhere where there are a bunch of people right now," said Williams. "And with everything going on, it's nice to take a break and get peace of mind for a second."

Bonnie Mueller, Vice Commodore of the Schuylkill Navy, has been watching the migration since March with a sense of jubilation.

"The number of people who've been coming down to the river, many people discovering the river for the first time, is just so overwhelmingly exciting," she said.

Mueller sees an opportunity to build on the newfound enthusiasm and develop ways to activate the river banks for as many people as possible. The Schuylkill has always been there, beckoning. Now, at long last, more and more people are noticing.

"I used to drive through here every day or once a week. I didn't have the opportunity to enjoy it. Now I do, so moving forward, I'm just gonna take more time out for myself," pledged Williams.