LWCF Land and Water Conservation Fund


$14 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 30,000 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.

Grant Application Schedule

Item Date

Applicant Webinar, Applications Open

State Program

February 14, 2024 

Plan Due

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

March 1, 2024 

Application Due

State Program

May 1, 2024 

Technical Review

State Program

June 5, 2024 - June 7, 2024 Estimate

Technical Completion Deadline

State Program

July 18, 2024 

Project Evaluation

State Program

August 21, 2024 - August 23, 2024 Estimate

Board Approves Preliminary Ranked Lists

State Program

October 31, 2024 Estimate

Grant Award History

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

Application Resources

Grant Manual


Project Evaluation

Project Celebrations

The 2022 Application Webinar Recording Is Here!



Application Question Mapping Tool is used to answer the evaluation question about “Need” in the Local Parks, Trails, and Water Access Categories. 

Outdoor Recreation Inventory: The 2023 Outdoor Recreation Inventory map and dashboard includes information on more than 23,000 outdoor recreation areas, facilities, trails, and water access sites. It is used to understand the quantity and distribution of key outdoor recreation opportunities across the state. The dashboard also includes a service area analysis for outdoor recreation opportunities, such as accessing a local park or trail. 

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 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

  • $200,000 to $2,000,000 State program
  • $300,000 to $9,580,000 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.