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Grants and In-Kind Services to Pennsylvania Nonprofits, Agencies, and Associations to Improve Access to Waterways for Outdoor Recreational Activities

Canoe Access Development Fund (CADF) Grant


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Canoe Access Development Fund (CADF)
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Pennsylvania: Western region

Important Dates
Deadline: 11/20/23 Postmarked Save

Grant Description
Grants of up to $5,000 and in-kind donations of technical assistance to Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and parks associations to improve access to streams and rivers for outdoor recreational activities. Applicants are required to contact the funding source prior to submitting a full application. The program focus is on waterways where people can kayak or canoe, especially whitewater streams which are suitable for beginners. Eligible applicants are located in the Western Pennsylvania region.

The Canoe Access Development Fund is a beneficial resource for local organizations to help ensure that the public has access to waterways. CADF also aids in the expansion of watershed partnerships across Western Pennsylvania and provides increased awareness of the work of watershed associations and organizations. WPC assists with this effort by not only providing funding, but also technical assistance for design, permitting, construction, outreach and long-term sustainability.

Improvements to canoe access sites help expand the number of locations for canoe and kayak enthusiasts to enjoy and explore Western Pennsylvania’s waterways that meander throughout private, public and state forests. River enthusiasts also have an opportunity to expand their enjoyment and knowledge of Pennsylvania’s diverse terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna. 

Canoe Access Development Grants:

The CADF operates by making grants to municipalities, recreation/parks associations, and nonprofit organizations to improve or develop stream access sites for canoeing or kayaking. Current funding supports grants on streams with minimal motorboat traffic, with preference for whitewater streams.

Eligible Use of Funds:

The funding may be used for the following expenses:

  • Parking area(s) for a few vehicles
  • Creating stabilized access areas and paths to the waterway
  • Purchase of conservation land easement or riverside access (where appropriate)
  • Paying for a portion of a larger land tract for access (where appropriate)
  • Upgrading an existing access location (through the above listed methods)

The expectations of these site improvements are for public groups and private landowners to work cooperatively. Their efforts will provide water enthusiasts safe and accessible points of access, canoe and kayak staging areas, and parking areas for their vehicles.

Projects previously funded by CADF are eligible for an additional $1,000 for post-project maintenance for up to 10 years. For a partial list of maintenance costs that may be covered:


Additional Eligibility Criteria
The CADF operates by making grants to municipalities, recreation/parks associations, and nonprofit organizations.

Eligible Applicants:
1. Local organizations with 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in Pennsylvania are eligible. Organizations without 501(c)(3) nonprofit status must identify a qualified nonprofit association to administer the grant’s finances, if awarded.
2. Preference will be given to existing sites or to waterways where previously developed conservation plans, assessments, or water trail programs indicate the need for improved stream recreation access. Indications of need may also come from current active development of the above.
3. A proposed new access site should be located along a stream or river described in "Canoeing Guide to Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia" or similar text, or be recognized in the region as a paddling waterway. Provide this information in the “Project Description.” Preference will be given to Class II and Class III streams.
4. A previously existing access site seeking improvement(s) should be on a waterway identified in "Canoeing Guide Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia" or similar text, or be recognized in the region as a paddling waterway. Provide this information in the “Project Description."
5. The landowner must be in agreement to allow canoe and kayak access to site for a minimum of 10 years (Landowner information must be included in order for the application to be eligible for review. Data box is located in the last portion of the application on page 8).
6. While a cash or non-cash match is not required, preference will be given to applications that show local commitment. Non-cash, in-kind contributions are acceptable and may include volunteer time, donated services, or other donated items, such as heavy equipment, which are directly related to the development of the applicant’s project.
7. Eligible streams must be rated as Class III or below, be substantially free of power boat traffic, and be canoeable often enough to justify the investment. Proposed access sites should significantly augment existing or planned access capability

Canoeing Guide to Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia:

Pre-Application Information
- Applications are due postmarked by November 20, 2023
- Site reviews will be conducted by WPC’s Watershed Conservation staff
- Applicants will be notified of selection by December 18, 2023

Applications for the spring grant program will be accepted beginning March 24, 2023, and must be postmarked by April 21, 2023. Grant recipients will be notified by May 19, 2023.

Prior to submitting your application, you are required to contact Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s Kelly Horrell.

An individual applicant may submit for multiple access sites. However, each site must have an individual application package.

An applicant’s site will be given preference if they are able to provide matching funds, supply volunteers, or supply heavy equipment for the project construction.

Estimated Size of Grant
Grants for 2023 will provide up to 5,000 for low-profile improvements and a subsequent $1,000 for maintenance over the next decade.

Term of Contract
The organization applying to the CADF must be committed to maintaining the access site for 10 years after the project is completed.

Contact Information
Submit one (1) complete copy of your grant application with all attachments and supporting documentation to:

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
C/O Ms. Kelly Horrell
Canoe Access Development Fund
1067 Philadelphia St, Suite 101
Indiana, PA 15701

If you have any questions concerning the fund, or to discuss your proposal, please contact Eli Long, WPC watershed manager, at or 724-471-7202, ext. 5105.

For questions concerning the fund, please contact Kelly Horrell, WPC Watershed Program Administrator, at or 724-471-7202, ext. 5100.

For questions concerning technical assistance or permitting, please contact Eli Long, WPC Watershed Manager, at or 724-471-7202, ext. 5105.

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