Pennsylvania Water Trails

Connecting our currents

Water Trail Management Resources

Information, tools, and guidance for water trail managers 

Strategic Plan

The Pennsylvania Water Trails Program Strategic Plan, adopted in 2017, outlines water trail oversight, support, promotion and celebration, and plan implementation.

Infrastructure

National Water Trail System

The National Water Trail System’s toolboxes have several resources to explore for ideas and advice on infrastructure development.

PA Water Trails Mini-grant

The Pennsylvania Water Trails Mini-grant program is funded by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. All types of projects that increase access to Pennsylvania’s water trails, support the PA Water Trail Program’s eight program principals, and have a one-year time frame will be considered.

Any project on or for a designated Pennsylvania Water Trail is eligible to receive funds from this mini-grant program; applicants do not have to be the water trail’s manager. Typically, the grant period opens in mid-April and closes in early July with awardees selected by August. Mini-grants are capped at $5,000 and require a 1:1 match.

Boating Facility Grant Program

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) created the Boating Facility Grant Program to provide grants for the planning, acquisition, development, expansion and rehabilitation of public boating facilities located on the waters of the Commonwealth. The goal of the program is to ensure Pennsylvania’s recreational boaters have the highest quality boating facilities.

Projects require a 1:1 match. The applications are typically due in December, and awards are announced in April. Eligible applicants are municipalities and non-profits.

Funding

PA Water Trails Mini-grant

The Pennsylvania Water Trails Mini-grant program is funded by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. All types of projects that increase access to Pennsylvania’s water trails, support the PA Water Trail Program’s eight program principals, and have a one-year time frame will be considered.

Any project on or for a designated Pennsylvania Water Trail is eligible to receive funds from this mini-grant program; applicants do not have to be the water trail’s manager. Typically, the grant period opens in mid-April and closes in early July with awardees selected by August. Mini-grants are capped at $5,000 and require a 1:1 match.

Boating Facility Grant Program

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) created the Boating Facility Grant Program to provide grants for the planning, acquisition, development, expansion and rehabilitation of public boating facilities located on the waters of the Commonwealth. The goal of the program is to ensure Pennsylvania’s recreational boaters have the highest quality boating facilities.

Projects require a 1:1 match. The applications are typically due in December, and awards are announced in April. Eligible applicants are municipalities and non-profits.

National Water Trail System

The National Water Trail System’s toolboxes have several resources to explore for funding ideas and advice.

Western PA Conservancy Canoe Access Development Fund

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,” Applicants include nonprofit watershed and conservation organizations, community groups, municipalities and more.

Grant awards range in amounts up to $4,000 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.

Programming

National Water Trail System

The National Water Trail System’s toolboxes have several resources to explore for ideas and advice on recreational programming.

The West Branch Paddle Club

The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership’s West Branch Paddle Club is a program that provides resources and celebrates paddlers of all ages and ability levels for their exploration of the Susquehanna River Water Trail – West Branch. 

There are two ways to join the club:

  1. Join as a segment paddler or
  2. Join as a water trail supporter

All members receive an annual WBPC newsletter, official WBPC sticker, discounts on SGP events, and the knowledge that they have supported the West Branch Susquehanna Water Trail so that more people can enjoy the beauty and adventure to be found along the West Branch! 

Safety & Hazards

Fish and Boat Safety Videos

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission created a series of informational safety videos to help river users prepare for hazards on the water. Share these videos freely on your social media, in your communications, or with your partners to spread information about river safety. 

National Water Trail System

The National Water Trail System’s toolboxes have several resources to explore for ideas and advice on safety and hazard issues.

Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Program

Since 2008, the Sea Tow Foundation has distributed over 50,000 life jackets to local businesses and organizations across the country. Your organization can apply to host and maintain a Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Station stocked with life jackets in a variety of sizes available for boaters to borrow free of charge for a day out on the water.

Design Guidelines

National Water Trail System

The National Water Trail System’s toolboxes have several resources to explore for ideas and advice on signage design.

Maintenance

National Water Trail System

The National Water Trail System’s toolboxes have several resources to explore for ideas and advice on trail maintenance. 

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Draft Visitor Use Management Plan

The purpose of the VUM Plan is to maximize the ability of the National Park Service to encourage access and improve visitor experiences while protecting natural and cultural resources for future generations. This plan examines current and potential visitor opportunities and develops long-term strategies to provide access, to connect visitors to important experiences, and to manage visitor use. 

Advocacy

National Water Trail System

The National Water Trail System’s toolboxes have several resources to explore for ideas and advice on building advocacy.

Economic Benefits of Water Trails Report 

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council completed this assessment in 2013 to highlight the economic benefit water trails have on their communities.

Volunteers & Stewards

National Water Trail System

The National Water Trail System’s toolboxes have several resources to explore for ideas and advice on volunteer recruitment and retention.