Our Goals


Hello River Lovers.

Thank you for your interest in the Friends of the Chemung River Watershed Inc. (River Friends).

We are a not-for-profit corporation formed in December 2009 to preserve and promote the 45-mile-long Chemung River and its tributaries -- the Canisteo, Cohocton, Cowanesque and Tioga rivers.

River Friends is a non-government organization that partners with municipalities to protect these waterways and use them to improve the quality of life, economy and natural environment of our communities. We work to make our rivers easier, safer and more fun to use and enjoy.

River Friends is an outgrowth of the former Chemung River Council that formed in 2007 to devise a master plan for development and use of our rivers and to encourage the public to better use and respect our waterways.

We accomplished a lot in our first four years. We built picnic pavilions at five boat launches in Chemung and Steuben counties, installed a solar-power river weather station in Elmira, helped build a safe paddlers passageway around a Chemung River dam in Elmira, built an emergency boat launch in West Elmira, developed a riverside community garden, removed more than 12 tons of trash from in and along the rivers, taught river ecology and river safety classes to hundreds of children and donated river rescue equipment to fire departments.


Some of our planned goals:

  • Sponsoring guided river paddles and guiding hikes and bike treks on the river trails.
  • Improving and expanding the existing boat launches, including building an educational riverside trail at the White Wagon Boat Launch in the town of Chemung.
  • Maintaining and improving the 2.5-mile rails-to-trails Lackawanna Trail in Elmira.
  • Developing a volunteer trail steward program to clean and maintain the trails.
  • Leading guided trash cleanups in and along the river.
  • Teaching safe paddling classes.
  • Sponsoring canoe and kayak races and fishing derbies.

Rivers provide us with drinking water, outdoor recreation and scenic beauty. Rivers reconnect people to nature and to their neighbors. Clean rivers are the foundation for sustainable communities and healthy ecosystems.

Protecting and enjoying our waterways depends on support from people like you. You can help us make the most of our rivers by:

  • Becoming a River Friends member by visiting www.chemungriverfriends.org or send a donation to the address below.
  • Volunteering to help with our programs and projects and participating in our programs and river recreation events. You can learn more by visiting our events page.
  • Get the latest River Friends news by liking us on Facebook

We invite you to visit and enjoy our waterways. Take your child or grandchild to skips rocks at the river's edge, reconnect with nature and enjoy the wildlife and scenic views where water, earth and sky come together.

Hope to see you on the water.

Thank you
Jim Pfiffer
Director of the Friends of the Chemung River Watershed, Inc.
111 N. Main St.
Elmira, N.Y 14901
(607) 846-2242
E-mail: riverfriends@stny.rr.com

Membership/Donation Form - please use this form membership and/or to make donations

The Chemung Basin River Trail covers nearly eighty miles in the Chemung Basin, and is formed by the confluence of the Tioga, Canisteo and Cohocton Rivers which joins the Susquehanna River. There are presently fourteen boat launch sites located along the Chemung River Trail. Experience the fun and beauty.
Photographs provided by Dr. Dan Lodico, Steve Brinthaupt, Sam Draper and Jim Pfiffer.