Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Youghiogheny River (pronounced yah-kuh-GAIN-ee) is a tributary of the Monongahela River, approximately 135 mi (217 km) long, in the U.S. states of West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. It drains an area on the west side of the Allegheny Mountains northward into Pennsylvania, providing the drainage for extreme western Maryland in the watershed of the Mississippi River.
It rises in northern West Virginia, in Preston County southeast of Kingwood and near Backbone Mountain. The headwaters are approximately 10 mi (16 km) north of the headwaters North Branch of the Potomac River. It flows NNE into Garrett County, Maryland, flowing north past Oakland and roughly parallel to the West Virginia border, separated by approximately 3 mi (5 km). It enters southwestern Pennsylvania on the border between Fayette and Somerset counties. It flows northwest through a gap in Chestnut Ridge and then past Connellsville. It joins the Monongahela from the southeast at McKeesport, southeast of Pittsburgh.
Upstream from Confluence, Pennsylvania, approximately 6 mi (10 km) north of Pennsylvania border, the river is impounded by the 184 ft (56 m) high Youghiogheny Dam to form the Youghiogheny River Lake , a reservoir that stretches upstream into northern Maryland. The dam was completed in 1944 primary for flood control.
In the colonial era and in the early United States, the valley of the river provided an important route of access through the mountains for settlers and military forces from Virginia to the Ohio Country of Western Pennsylvania. In 1754, as an officer in the British Army, George Washington followed the river in an attempt to find a water route to Fort Duquesne, then held by the French.
A former pioneer ford at Somerset, Pennsylvania was inundated by the building of the Youghiogheny Dam. Perryopolis in northern Fayette County, Pennsylvania is the site of the George Washington Grist Mill . The Youghiogheny River Trail follows the river in southwestern Pennsylvania southeast of Connellsville.
A portion of the river in Maryland has been set aside by the state as Youghiogheny Scenic and Wild River.
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