The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides funding to preserve and develop outdoor recreation resources, including parks, trails, and wildlife lands. In 2014, Congress established the Land and Water Conservation Fund Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program, which provides grants to help urban communities with thirty thousand 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.
Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool: The purpose of the ORLP Program is to provide new or significantly improved recreation opportunities in urban, disadvantaged communities lacking access to walkable outdoor recreation (a.k.a. park deserts), consistent with the purposes and requirements of the LWCF Act and LWCF Manual. To meet ORLP objectives and goals, projects must be:
- located within an incorporated city or town or unincorporated area having a population of thirty thousand or more in the 2020 census (U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: United States), and
- located within a community (census tract) that is determined to be disadvantaged per the Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool (includes tract of project site and communities served)
Additional Application Resources
- 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.
- Renovating community parks
- Building skate parks, swimming pools, and trails
- Building athletic fields and sport courts
- Nature-based projects that support recreation
Who May Apply?
- Local agencies
- Special purpose districts, such as park and recreation districts
- Native American tribes
- State agencies
An estimated $224 million may be appropriated by Congress nationwide.
$300,000 to $15 million
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 may include the following:
- Appropriations or cash
- Donations of cash, land, labor, equipment, and materials
- Federal (very limited), 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.
- Land acquisition
- Development or renovation
- 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
- Parks and sites that are receiving an LWCF formula grant, or that received an LWCF formula grant that closed within the past seven years, at the same park, even if the scope of the project is different
- Parks and sites that already have received two previous ORLP awards, or additional ORLP funds to cover a cost increase of a previous ORLP grant project
- Incidental costs relating to acquisition of real property or interests such as permits and surveys
All property acquired or developed with these grants must be kept forever exclusively for public outdoor recreation use.