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Last wooden paddleboat ferry in the nation paddles on in Millersburg after 200 years

Hitting the waters of the Susquehanna River in 1817, the Millersburg ferry continues to float on.

MILLERSBURG, Pa. — Captain Michael Willard has been driving the 1817 ferry for three years.

"We're on the east side of the river at Millersburg. It's the last wooden paddle boat ferry in the nation," Willard said.

"We travel between Millersburg landing and crows landing on the west shore hauling passengers and hauling vehicles."

Cheryl Miller and her daughter Lillien, who moved to the area in 2010, decided it was finally time to go for a ride.

"We wanted to go for a ride on the bike and saw the ferry here and I've been in Millersburg since 2010 but have never actually been on a ferry ride, so I thought today would be a good day for it," Miller explained.

The boat's don't see any regular travelers anymore. It stays afloat purely from tourism.

Captain Willard says the weather in the summer is perfect to take a ride and learn some history.

"These days are beautiful right now. The river's calm, it's high water. If you don't enjoy it and love it, you know, you're not gonna be out here long."

Frank Klink and his family took a ride on their way to camp at Knoebels amusement park and campground in Elysburg.

"It's wonderful. We've been telling the kids about their mother and coming across and we've met wonderful people too," Klink said.

According to Willard, the first mates are the most important thing to keeping the ferry running and they are always looking for more volunteers and captains.

"[The first mates] launch the ferry. They tie the ferry up. And that's always open to men or women," Willard explained.

When asked what keeps the 200 year old paddles moving, Willard replied, "A lot of love. A lot of love and dedication."

If you would like to volunteer or learn more about the Millersburg Ferry, you can visit their website here.

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