LWCF Land and Water Conservation Fund


$6 million


Grant Limit



Match Requirement



The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides funding to preserve and develop outdoor recreation resources, including parks, trails, and wildlife lands. There are two separate LWCF programs:

State Program: Congress created the fund in 1965 with the passage of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to provide financial assistance to states for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas. All communities may compete for funding in this program.

Legacy Program: In 2014, Congress established the Land and Water Conservation Fund Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program, which provides grants to help urban communities with 50,000 or more people buy or develop land to create or reinvigorate public parks and other outdoor recreation spaces. Priority is given to projects in economically disadvantaged areas that lack outdoor recreation opportunities. Each state may submit four proposals for national competition.

Grant Application Schedule

Item Date

Applications Due

Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program

May 15, 2020 

Technical Completion Deadline

Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program

June 22, 2020 

National Ranking

Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program

August 1, 2020 - November 30, 2020 Estimate

Grants Awarded by National Park Service

Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program

March 1, 2021 Estimate

Applicant Webinar, Applications Open

February 13, 2020 

Plan Due

A comprehensive plan is required to be eligible for a grant.

March 1, 2020 

Application Due

June 1, 2020 

Technical Review

June 25, 2020 - June 26, 2020

Technical Completion Deadline

August 10, 2020 

Project Evaluation


September 24, 2020 - September 25, 2020

Board Approves Preliminary Ranked Lists

November 5, 2020 

Board Awards Grants

July 1, 2021 Estimate

Grant Award History

Most recent grants and evaluation results, listed by the application year.

Application Resources

Grant Manual


NEW – The 2020 Evaluation Meetings are in process! View the meetings live on YouTube at the link below (Note: some meetings are live streams and others are recordings).

Changes Due to the Coronavirus

RCO understands that grant applicants may need more time to complete their applications in light of COVID-19. RCO has made the following changes to its LWCF grant application process:

  • Grant application deadline extended from May 1 to June 1. In the next few weeks, RCO will adjust some of the other deadlines.
  • All project evaluations will be Web-based. There will be no in-person meetings and the evaluation committee will work remotely as well.
  • At its April 22 meeting, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board will consider reducing match.
Project Celebrations

Application Question Mapping Tool

Use this map to answer the evaluation question about “Need.”

Map of Washington State

Application Workshop Webinar

This Webinar workshop and Q&A will give participants information about grant programs, deadlines, requirements, changes for 2020, and how to apply for a grant.

Typical Projects

  • Renovating community parks
  • Building skate parks, tennis courts, swimming pools, and trails
  • Protecting wildlife habitat
  • Building athletic fields

Who May Apply?

  • Local agencies
  • Special purpose districts, such as park and recreation districts
  • Native American tribes
  • State agencies

Planning Requirement

To apply for this funding, grant applicants must have completed a comprehensive recreation or conservation plan. See details on the planning page and in Manual 2: Planning Policies and Guidelines.


Funding is awarded every 2 years for the state program and the legacy program. Funding comes from federal government’s selling and leasing off-shore oil and gas resources.

Grant Limits

  • $25,000 to $500,000 State program
  • $300,000 to $960,430 Legacy program

Administrative Costs

Administrative costs are not eligible. Architecture and engineering costs for development and renovation projects are limited to 20 percent of the total development project cost.

Match Details

Match may include the following:

  • Appropriations or cash
  • Bonds
  • Donations of cash, land, labor, equipment, and materials
  • Federal, state, local, and private grants
  • Applicant’s labor, equipment, and materials

For local agencies, at least 10 percent of the total project cost must come from a non-state, non-federal contribution.

Eligible Projects

  • Land acquisition
  • Development or renovation

Ineligible Projects

Acquisition of the following:

  • Federal surplus property
  • Game refuges or fish production facilities
  • Historic sites and structures
  • Lands acquired from the federal government at less than fair market value
  • Land and facilities used primarily for semi-professional and professional arts and athletics
  • Land for indoor facilities, except for covered swimming pools and ice rinks
  • Land for agricultural purposes
  • Land to help meet a public school’s minimum site size requirement
  • Railroad hardware, trestles, stations, yards, etc.
  • Luxury lodges, motels, cabins, and similar elaborate facilities that serve food and have sleeping quarters
  • Museums and sites to be used for museums or primarily for archaeological excavations
  • Scholastic and intercollegiate facilities

Incidental costs relating to acquisition of real property or interests such as permits and surveys.

Long-term Commitment

All property acquired or developed with these grants must be kept forever exclusively for public outdoor recreation use.

Other Application Resources

2020 Application Webinar
Application Webinar Q&A