Water Trails Mini-Grants Announced

Pennsylvania Environmental Commission | by Lizzie Hessek

When the Pennsylvania Water Trails Partnership released its Strategic Plan for the Water Trails Program in 2016, it recommended the development of new funding opportunities for water trail managers across the State. To that end, PEC worked closely with DCNR, another member of the Water Trail Partnership, to reserve $25,000 of the program’s budget for mini-grants to help accomplish projects on designated Pennsylvania Water Trails.

After reviewing 17 applications requesting a total of $56,683, we are pleased to announce that the following 10 projects will receive funding from the Water Trails Program:

  • Conodoguinet Creek: The Cumberland County Planning Department will reprint their 2012 water trail guide, updated to reflect recently added features including a new access point and a nature preserve which just opened this year. They received $2,222 from the Water Trails Program.
  • Lehigh River: East Penn Township will receive $3,068 from the Pennsylvania Water Trail Program to build a new campground along the water trail. Ten campsites will be constructed near an existing boat launch in Carbon County’s Riverview Park.
  • Middle Allegheny River: The Oil Region Alliance will revise and reprint their water trail’s map to improve readability, accuracy, and information value for trail users. A $3,500 mini-grant will support the effort.
  • Pine Creek: Following a pair of boating deaths on Pine Creek in the spring of 2017, the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy hopes to improve safety on the river by installing new signage to be installed at public access points along the Pine Creek Water Trail.  The Water Trails Program will contribute $750 toward the cost.
  • Schuylkill River: Outdated water trail signs along the Schuylkill River Greenway will be upgraded to enhance trail recognition using a $1,760 Water Trails mini-grant. The funds will help pay for the design, fabrication, and installation of new aluminum signs.
  • Swatara Creek: The Swatara Watershed Association is working to update signage and maps to reflect two newly identified boat launches along the Swatara Water Trail, directing boaters to the authorized locations, reducing the use of private property, and relieving tension in the community. The association will receive $3,500 for this project.
  • Tidal Delaware River: $2,200 from the Water Trails Program will support development of a public relations strategy for a new boating program on the water trail. The Glen Foerd Conservation Corporation says the campaign will increase public awareness of this new access point and attract new users to Glen Foerd, while also helping to remarket Glen Foerd as a multifaceted park and trail destination.
  • Also on the Tidal Delaware Water Trail, the Delaware River City Corporation will take on habitat restoration on the greenway. Restoration of 20 acres of habitat will improve connectivity for people and wildlife as outlined in the North Delaware Riverfront Greenway Master Plan for an 11-mile greenway.  The project aims to suppress invasive species present on the site and establish tidal wetlands, meadows, and riparian forest. The Delaware River City Corporation will receive $3,500 to engage volunteers and hire a PowerCorps volunteer.
  • West Branch Susquehanna River: The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership is receiving $2,500 to undertake a River Signage Inventory in order to identify areas lacking signage and areas in need of updated signage. Volunteers will be educated on how to conduct the signage survey. The last assessment of signage in this area was in 2009.
  • Youghiogheny River: The Mountain Watershed Association is also preparing a new edition of its water trail map, with help from a $2,000 Water Trails mini-grant. The updated maps will be reorganized around boat-trip legs, improving utility for trail users, and will available in printed form as well as online. Information about surrounding amenities is also slated for an update.

PEC looks forward to working with all the grantees as they move their projects forward on these designated water trails. You can find out more about the Water Trails Program here.