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ODNR Offers $500K in Grants to Improve Boating Access in 2021
ODNR Offers $500K in Grants to Improve Boating Access in 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Watercraft is offering $500,000 in grants to improve boating access for hand-powered watercraft at public facilities across the state. Applicants may request up to $75,000 for a single project during the grant period.

“Ohio has experienced extraordinary growth in paddle sports in recent years,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “This grant will provide funding for new opportunities, such as improving access sites and connecting paddlers to local amenities, which will enhance local economies and tourism for years to come.”

The Paddling Enhancement Grant is a competitive grant program offering 100% reimbursement to eligible political subdivisions (municipalities, townships, counties, joint recreational districts, park districts, conservancy districts) and state and federal agencies. Its goal is to improve or develop recreational boating access for hand-powered watercraft at public facilities.

The application is available on the ODNR website and must be submitted electronically to the grant administrator by March 1, 2021. The grant period runs from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022.

Applicants are encouraged to include one or more of the following criteria listed below in their application:

  • Improve existing paddling access site and paddling safety.
  • Promote or improve Ohio’s designated water trails.
  • Meet Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.
  • Locate a project within a designated water trail or proposed water trail.
  • Connect paddlers to amenities, such as shopping, restaurants, and overnight accommodations.
  • Utilize “shovel ready” projects.

The grant application covers other criteria related to eligible projects. Although most grant projects do not require any match, projects that charge user fees are only eligible for up to 50% reimbursement. Additionally, all eligible grantees must be in good standing with ODNR.

Funding for the 2021 Paddling Enhancement Grant is provided by the hand-powered watercraft registration fees collected by ODNR’s Division of Parks and Watercraft and deposited into the Ohio Waterways Safety Fund. This fund was established to support construction or improvement of public facilities for increased recreational boating safety on navigable waters of the state.

For more information on the grant program, please contact Melissa Moser, grant administrator, at (614) 265-6518 or melissa.moser@dnr.ohio.gov.

The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft is responsible for managing Ohio’s 75 state parks and providing the finest outdoor recreational opportunities, including first-class boating services, facilities, and law enforcement, for users of Ohio’s waterways and public lands.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.