Indiana, Pa. – Oct. 12, 2019 –The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is celebrating 10 years of making the region’s rivers and streams more accessible for outdoor recreation through its Canoe Access Development Fund.
The Conservancy is seeking applications for grants from the fund, which so far has supported 67 projects that are completed and open to the public.
Founded in 2008 by WPC donors and outdoor enthusiasts Roy Weil and Mary Shaw, the fund provides grants to watershed organizations and other community groups to develop and improve access sites for canoeists, kayakers and anglers. The first projects supported by the fund were implemented in 2009.
New access sites proposed for grant funding should be located along a stream or river featured in Weil and Shaw’s “Canoeing Guide to Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia” (located online at canoedraft.shaw-weil.com) or a similar resource, or be recognized as a paddling waterway in Western Pennsylvania.
Shaw said that an unanticipated outcome is that the access sites are benefiting communities as well as canoeists. “People who have never been on the water are getting on the water. The fund creates opportunities for commercial operations, and brings people into the community.”
Susan Huba, Loyalhanna Watershed Association executive director, said her organization has built several launch sites with Canoe Access Development Fund grants. “Bringing visibility to our area waterways is beneficial to the communities, businesses and organizations that surround them and work to protect and restore their water resources,” she said. Attendance at the organization’s one-day Loyalhanna Sojourn paddle has increased to 232 participants over six years.
Qualified grant recipients will receive up to $4,000 per site for the construction and enhancement of canoe and kayak access locations. Grant funding could be used to stabilize access areas to rivers or streams, add nearby parking areas, purchase riverside access or for other improvements.
A downloadable application, including a complete list of requirements, is available beginning Oct. 15. Applications must be postmarked by Nov. 15, 2019 and grant recipients will be notified by Dec. 13, 2019.
About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy enhances the region by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish 11 state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 132 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of more than 11,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 9,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org or Fallingwater.org.
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