|Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has awarded more than $1.06 million in grants to 14 municipalities, conservancies and land trusts for the acquisition, development, improvement or rehabilitation of public recreational boat launches.
The awards are provided through the Boating Facilities Grant Program, a funding stream initiated by the PFBC to help ensure Pennsylvania’s recreational boaters are provided with the highest quality boating facilities on water bodies across the state. The program is designed for public entities, land trusts, conservancies and watershed associations that have or will have the capability to provide boat access facilities that are open and available for general public use.
Grant recipients for the most recent round of funding and a brief project description follow.
- Roaring Run Watershed Association, Armstrong County - $12,000. The Roaring Run Watershed Association owns a boat launch facility along the Kiskiminetas River near the town of Apollo, PA. The existing facility has a large parking area that can accommodate approximately 80 vehicles and provides primitive hand carry access for canoes and kayaks. Grant funds will be used to improve the facility by installing a boat launch ramp and installing rip rap around the launch ramp to reduce erosion.
- Borough of Ohioville, Beaver County - $142,000. The Borough of Ohioville received a Boating Facility Grant in 2005 in the amount of $190,000 to construct a new boat launch facility along the Little Beaver Creek adjacent to the Ohio River. The new facility consists of an access road, boat launch, parking area and vault restrooms. Grant funds will be used to pave the parking area and the access road to the facility.
- City of Cumberland, Maryland, Bedford County - $46,500. The City of Cumberland, MD, owns the Evitts Creek Water Company which owns Lake Gordon and Lake Koon in Bedford County, PA. The City of Cumberland plans to expand the boat launch facility at Koon Lake and provide for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access. The city proposes to install a new canoe/kayak launch area, courtesy docks, two ADA accessible parking spaces, and an ADA accessible pathway leading from the parking area to the courtesy docks.
- Cambria Somerset Authority, Cambria County- $24,000. The Cambria Somerset Authority plans to improve the access road and the parking area for the existing boat launch facility on Wilmore Reservoir. The narrow access road and limited parking area create congestion at the facility. Funds would be used to expand the parking area and the access road and to add a two inch layer of stone to the existing parking area at the facility. This is the only public boat launch facility for the Wilmore Reservoir.
- Chapman Township, Clinton County - $47,000. Chapman Township is requesting funds to improve the North Bend Access Area. Grant funds would primarily be used to replace the existing stone boat ramp with a concrete ramp, create a new parking area, and create a paved parking area and roadway for ADA access from the parking area to the boat launch ramp. This project is located in the heart of the PA Wilds.
- Swatara Creek Watershed Association, Lebanon County - $90,000. The Swatara Creek Watershed Association is requesting funds to acquire a 33-acre property in Lebanon County along the Swatara Creek as a public park and boat launch. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is providing a major portion of the funding through a grant for $190,000 that has already been approved. The next nearest boating location is PFBC Waterworks site which is approximately 10 miles upstream.
- Lehigh County - $42,000. The Lehigh County Bureau of Parks and Recreation proposes to install a new canoe and kayak boat launch facility on the Lehigh River in Washington Township, Lehigh County. Grant funds will be used to construct a single lane concrete boat launch ramp, an access road, gravel parking area and a turnaround area. The improvements will provide a facility that may be used by canoes, kayaks, drift boats and small motorized boats. This area is identified as an access point of the Southern Section of the Lehigh River Water Trail.
- Luzerne County - $75,000. Luzerne County proposes to improve the existing single lane boat launch located in Nesbitt Park in the City of Wilkes-Barre. In 2007, Luzerne County was awarded funding in the amount of $200,000 to complete phase 1 of the project, which includes improvements to the boat launch ramp and parking area. The county has submitted a new application to perform phase 2 of the project. Phase 2 includes the installation of erosion and sedimentation controls, earthwork, paving of the parking area and access road, the construction of an overflow parking area and the creation of a bioretention area. This is the only public boat launch facility on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River for the City of Wilkes-Barre and the surrounding communities.
- North Branch Land Trust, Luzerne County - $150,000. The North Branch Land Trust plans to acquire a 22-acre property located along the North Branch of the Susquehanna River near West Pittston, PA. The North Branch Land Trust proposes to acquire the property and work toward the development of a public boat launch facility on the site.
- Shickshinny Borough, Luzerne County - $97,000. The borough is requesting funds to construct a new boat launch facility on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River. The new facility will consist of a single lane concrete boat launch ramp, a gravel parking area and a gravel access road.
- Monroe Township, Snyder County - $230,000. Boating Facility Grant funds will be used to construct a new access road, expand the parking area and replace the lower 50 feet of the existing concrete plank boat launch ramp. This facility provides the first access to the west side of the Susquehanna River downstream of the fabridam in Sunbury, PA.
- Schuylkill River Development Corporation - $15,000. The Schuylkill River Development Corporation is requesting funding to remove abandoned pilings located in the navigable portion of the Schuylkill River in the City of Philadelphia near the Market Street Bridge. The pilings present a serious safety hazard to boaters using this section of the Schuylkill River. The pilings will be cut and removed to prevent a potential impact with boats.
- Allegheny Valley Conservancy, Venango County - $75,000. The Allegheny Valley Conservancy applied for funds to purchase a 13-acre property with 3,300 linear feet of stream frontage along the Allegheny River. The Allegheny Valley Conservancy plans to use the property to improve canoe, kayak and fishing access to the Allegheny River. This segment of the river is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River and is in the middle section of the Allegheny River Water Trail.
- Emlenton Borough, Venango County - $15,000. Emlenton Borough is requesting funds to construct a canoe/kayak access on the Allegheny River at the Allegheny River Trail parking area in Emlenton. Grant funds will be used to construct a new canoe/kayak launch, a short access road and a picnic area at the site.
The Boating Facility Grant Program funds are derived from boat registration fees, state fuel taxes collected on fuel used in motorboats, and taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat fuel from the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program. No state general funds are used for any Commission programs.
The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about the Boating Facility Grant Program and for application forms, visit the PFBC’s web site at www.fish.state.pa.us.