Watershed Conservation

Canoe Access Development Fund

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s Canoe Access Development Fund helps to make the region’s rivers and streams more accessible for outdoor recreation such as canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Watershed groups, conservation organizations, paddle clubs, agencies and other eligible parties can receive to develop canoe and kayak access sites across Western Pennsylvania.

Canoeing at Lake Pymatuning

We Improve Access for Waterway Recreation

Longtime Conservancy members and outdoor enthusiasts Roy Weil and Mary Shaw established the Conservancy's Canoe Access Development Fund in 2008. CADF provides grants to watershed organizations and other community groups to develop and improve access sites on the region's rivers and streams for canoeists, kayakers and anglers.

CADF projects focus on rivers and streams where people can canoe or kayak, with an emphasis on easier whitewater suitable for novice paddlers. The best reference for identifying these types of waterways remains the “Canoeing Guide to Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia,” compiled and edited by Roy Weil and Mary Shaw.

CADF funds are allotted using a thorough proposal and vetting process. Applicants include nonprofit watershed and conservation organizations, community groups, municipalities and more. Grant awards range in amounts up to $5,000 per site and can be used in a variety of ways, including improving an existing access, developing a new river access or adding nearby parking areas.

WPC staff also provides hands-on assistance to grant recipients for planning and site preparation.

Download Our Free Canoe Access Development Guide

As more people canoe, kayak, fish and recreate on our region's waterways, it’s important that safe, durable, accessible sites are available.

Is your watershed association, paddling club, outdoors group or community organization  interested in developing and improving canoe and kayak access site  on a Pennsylvania’s river and stream? Our free Canoe Access Development Guide provides an overview of considerations in developing river access sites, as well as links to a number of resources to help you plan.

Download “The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s Canoe Access Development Fund (CADF) Project Implementation Manual: A Short Guide to Implementing a Canoe Access Site in Your Community.”

The application period for the spring 2024 Canoe Access Development Fund is closed. Please check back in the fall for the fall application period.

We are pleased to help watersheds, local governments and community organizations improve or develop canoe access sites on rivers and streams in their communities. In addition to funding, WPC  provides technical assistance for design, permitting, construction, outreach and long-term sustainability.

If you have any questions concerning the fund, please contact Kelly Horrell, WPC Watershed Program Administrator, at khorrell@paconserve.org or 724-471-7202, ext. 5100.

If you have any questions concerning technical assistance or permitting, please contact Eli Long, WPC Watershed Manager, at elong@paconserve.org or 724-471-7202, ext. 5105.

Our most recent awardees include:

  • Lawrence County Planning Department for improvements to McQuiston and Millennium accesses on the Shenango River, the Beyond Corporation and McKinney Russel accesses on the Mahoning River, and the Bevington Access on the Beaver River.
  • Mountain Watershed Association for improvements to the Millers Landing Access on Indian Creek
  • Redbank Valley Trails Association for RVTA Moore Road Rachel Carson Bridge Access on Redbank Creek.

See a list of other recipients and waterways here.



Meet the Funders

Roy Weil and Mary Shaw, outdoor enthusiasts and Conservancy members since 1974, established the Canoe Access Development Fund in 2008 to help make Western Pennsylvania's rivers and streams more accessible for recreation and to encourage people to get outdoors. They chose the Conservancy due to our commitment to conservation, the outdoors, water trails and getting people engaged with the natural world.

Roy and Mary strongly believe in the importance of connecting people to nature through hands-on experiences. They hope that when people have easier access to area streams, they will be inspired to preserve our region’s natural heritage.

WPC Canoe Access Development Fund
For More Information:

Watershed Conservation Program
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
1067 Philadelphia Street, Suite 101
Indiana, PA 15701

Kelly Horrell
724-471-7202, ext. 5100
Eli Long
724-471-7202, ext. 5105