The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has funds available to support projects that will improve canoe and kayak access to the region’s waterways. The Conservancy provides technical assistance and grants of up to $5,000 through its Canoe Access Development Fund for the construction and enhancement of canoe and kayak access locations.
Founded in 2008 by WPC donors and outdoor enthusiasts Roy Weil and Mary Shaw, WPC’s Canoe Access Development Fund provides grants to watershed organizations and other community groups to make the region’s rivers and streams more accessible for outdoor recreation by developing and improving access sites for canoeists, kayakers and anglers. Grant funding could be used to stabilize access areas to rivers or streams, add nearby parking areas, purchase riverside access or for other improvements.
Currently, 88 CADF-supported projects are completed and open to the public along 37 different waterways in 21 counties.
The Conservancy can also provide technical guidance to organizations during any phase of their canoe access projects. Eli Long, watershed manager for the Conservancy, says technical guidance could include helping a group with a site drawing or design to show where a ramp, path or trail to the stream would be situated. Another aspect of technical assistance is considering how a canoe access site should function, such as whether the access is a walking path and what the surface should be made of.
“We can even assist with deciding a site location, determining what permits are needed or helping develop those permits,” Eli notes. “We can work within the restrictions of the site and the organization’s goals to find the best fit for the project.”
These organizations recently received awards for improvements to access sites on waterways in their area: Loyalhanna Watershed Association on Loyalhanna Creek, West Wheatfield Township on the Conemaugh River and South Fayette Township on Millers Run.
A downloadable application, including a complete list of requirements, is available at WaterLandLife.org/canoe-access-development-fund-cadf/. Applications must be postmarked by April 21, 2023, and grant recipients will be notified by May 19, 2023.