PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh is known for its bridges and rivers, but one in particular is getting some special attention.

The Monongahela River is in the running for Pennsylvania’s “River of the Year.”

The mighty river stretches 129 miles through southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It’s a busy waterway on any given day.

“It’s such a huge part of who we are as a region and beyond just the industrial and commercial uses,” Sara Goots with the Brownsville Area Revitalization Corporation said. “It can also play a big part in the economic development of some of these smaller towns.”

Years of coal mines and steel mills took their toll on the water, but many say the Mon is now moving in the right direction. The water quality has improved and the river is being used for recreation more than ever.

That’s why employees with the Brownsville Area Revitalization Corporation nominated it for “River of the Year” – a contest by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.

“A lot of people do overlook the Mon and don’t really think too much about it,” Goots said. “But it’s a beautiful river.”

The Mon is squaring off against these five other rivers all across the state.

Last year, the Mon came in second place – beat out by the Stony Creek River which flows through Cambria and Somerset counties.

“It was really disappointing, because we were in first (place) for a while and just kind of got edged out in the last minute,” Goots said. “So that’s why we are kind of hoping this year we can pull up from behind and win.”

For those who want to vote for the Mon as “River of the Year,” it’s simple, just cast a ballot on their website.

“It would be so great to have, not only people in this region proud of where they live, of the river that’s right in our backyard,” Goots said. “But also bring attention to it throughout Pennsylvania, as well.”

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