Facts and myths about our rivers
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Some local residents have heard that Allegheny County has the second highest number of registered boats in America behind Miami's Dade County.
This myth, however, has been debunked by the Port of Pittsburgh (and anyone else who looks at the numbers), which offered up 12 Florida counties that have more boats and per capita boaters than the 'Burgh.
But all is not lost when measuring the 730-square-mile county known for its three rivers against others with similar populations and geographical landscapes.
The Allegheny, which Friends of the Riverfront say was named by the Allegawes Native American tribe, spreads for 325 miles from the Appalachian Mountains of northern Pennsylvania into the southern portion of the state and New York.
The 128-mile Monongahela -- a rarity in the U.S. because it flows north -- also received its name from Native Americans and means "river with crumbling or falling banks." The Mon begins in Fairmont, W.Va., and meets the Allegheny Downtown to form the Ohio River.
"Belle Riveiere" as the first European explorer called the Ohio River in 1669, flows through or along the borders of six states for 981 miles from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Ill., where it becomes the Mississippi River, according to the Friends of the Riverfront.
The rivers and their tributaries make up more than 14 square miles of water in the county, which is accessed by 43,000 boaters, or 3.6 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
In comparison, Hamilton County, best known for the city of Cincinnati, has granted boating permits to less than 3 percent of the 800,000 residents. The Ohio River, which flows near the county's southern border, and other waterways make up 6.7 miles, or 1.7 percent, of the 406-square-mile region.
The Scioto River and Olentangy River meet in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Franklin County, the 532-square-mile region that includes Columbus, is made up of 11 miles of water. The county's 37,000 boaters account for 3.1 percent of the 1.2 million residents.
-- By Taryn Luna
First Published August 23, 2012 12:00 am