Pittsburgh, Pa. – March 19, 2024 –

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is seeking grant applications for its Canoe Access Development Fund (CADF), which supports projects that will improve canoe and kayak access to Western Pennsylvania’s waterways.A wide, cinder covered path, for transporting canoes and kayaks, leads directly into a creek in the woods.

The Conservancy’s CADF provides technical assistance and grants of up to $5,000 for the construction and enhancement of canoe and kayak access locations.

Founded in 2008 by Conservancy donors and outdoor enthusiasts Roy Weil and Mary Shaw, CADF 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, 94 CADF-supported projects are completed and open to the public along 39 different waterways in 24 counties in the region. An interactive map on the WPC website allows users to explore some of the region’s WPC-funded access sites.

Rebecca Shaffer, Deputy Director of Community Development, Lawrence County Department of Planning & Community Development, says the organization recently received five CADF grants. The grants are being used to improve and update the main entryway and parking area for the 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.

“The funding has been extremely helpful,” Rebecca says. “In the past we were unable to perform any maintenance upgrades due to lack of funding, so these grants have been well received.”

Kelly Horrell, watershed conservation program administrator at the Conservancy, says the fund helps communities thrive along the streams where access points are installed. “Building and improving canoe access points restores and stabilizes the streambank, reducing erosion and sedimentation into the streams,” Kelly says, noting that it also connects communities along Western Pennsylvania’s water trails. “Canoe access encourages recreation and brings tourism dollars to the area, and allows for a nice day trip or multi-day camping trip.”

A downloadable application, including a complete list of requirements, is available at WaterLandLife.org/canoe-access-development-fund-cadf/. Applications open March 19 and must be postmarked by April 26, 2024. Grant recipients will be notified by May 24, 2024.


About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped establish 11 state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands, protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams, and assessed thousands of wildlife species and their habitats. The Conservancy owns and operates Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces and thousands of trees that are planted with the help of more than 7,000 volunteers. The work of the Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org or Fallingwater.org.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Sumoske
Communications Specialist