Photo credit: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has funding 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. Due to rising costs of materials, the Conservancy increased the amount of individual grants by $1,000 for the current round of funding.

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, 87 CADF-supported projects are completed and open to the public along 37 different waterways in 21 counties.

Eli Long, watershed manager for the Conservancy, says that many would-be applicants are unaware that WPC provides technical assistance for canoe access that “runs the gamut of project development.” He says technical guidance could include helping a group decide on a site location, determining what permits are needed or helping develop those permits. “We can even assist with a site drawing or design to show where a ramp, path or trail to the stream would be situated. This is a key asset used to apply for a permit,” Eli notes.

He says another aspect of technical assistance is considering how a canoe access site should function. “Is it a walking path? What’s the surface made of? We can work within the restrictions of the site and the organization’s goals to find the best fit for the project.”

A downloadable application, including a complete list of requirements, is available at

Applications must be postmarked by May 3, 2022, and grant recipients will be notified by June 3, 2022.