Brian Swisher is a graphic design professional, a lifelong resident of Berks County, and an avid kayaker. Combining those skills, local knowledge, and experience, he designed and produced “A Paddler’s Guide to the Schuylkill River Water Trail” for the Pottstown-based Schuylkill River Greenways. This waterproof Guide includes 18 detailed section maps of the river, from Schuylkill Haven to Philadelphia, and a 20-page guide booklet. Its primary purpose, of course, is to help prepare paddlers for safe and enjoyable navigation of the Schuylkill River, but equally important is spotlighting the historical, cultural, and natural value of this under-appreciated corridor. With the assistance of over 100 other contributors, Brian devoted 4 years and more than 3000 volunteer hours designing, mapping, researching, writing, illustrating, and photographing for this Guide. This award-winning publication has been seen at international cartographic exhibitions since its December 2016 release.
Brian will present an overview of this “labor of love,” including the hundreds of photographs (both archival and modern-day) that adorn its pages and illustrate the history of use and abuse of this river … and the remarkable and historic reclamation that is the Schuylkill today (despite public perception to the contrary).