Land and Water Conservation Fund Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program
National Park Service (NPS)
To enable urban communities to create new outdoor recreation spaces, reinvigorate existing parks, and form connections between people and the outdoors in economically underserved communities. Projects should support locally led, voluntary conservation and restoration efforts that address the nature and climate crises, improve equitable access to the outdoors, and strengthen the economy.
Applicant and/or Project Eligibility Requirements
The lead state agency may submit on behalf of themselves or another eligible sub-recipient. Eligible sub-recipients (i.e., project sponsors) include state agencies, local units of government (state political subdivisions such as cities, counties, and special-purpose districts such as park districts), and federally recognized Indian Tribes. For a project to be eligible the sub-recipient must: Represent a jurisdiction of at least 50,000 people, AND Be situated within or contiguous with the geographic boundary of one of the 497 Urbanized Areas (UA) delineated by the Census Bureau.
Types of projects: a. Acquisition. These include the acquisition of land and waters or partial rights to them. There must also be public access, however, access may be controlled, but not prohibited. b. Development. These include the development of certain outdoor recreation activities and support facilities needed by the public for the recreation use of an area. c. Combination. Two general types of multiple-purpose projects are eligible for assistance: a. Projects in which a specifically designated portion of the multiple-purpose area or facility will be used primarily for outdoor recreation and/or outdoor recreation support, e.g., picnicking facilities adjacent to a new public reservoir. b. Projects that will provide identifiable outdoor recreation benefits as a whole as opposed to specific segments of it. I.e., a water impoundment that will be constructed primarily for flood control might also have important recreation benefits. Consider the aforementioned project ideas, outdoor facilities, and public spaces access, to be constructed and obtained sustainably and with clean energy.
Multi-modal accessibility to other transit options is particularly critical to ensure last-mile connections exist especially for currently disconnected, marginalized, and/or underserved communities. Consider how this funding can enhance last-mile connectivity options for those relying on public transit to increase safety and accessibility of continued commutes via transit.
Each state has its own priorities and selection criteria (tailored to its own particular needs and unique opportunities), and because individual States make the decisions, in effect, about which projects will receive these grants. The first step for potential applicants is to contact the cooperating State office to find out about local application deadlines, state priorities, and selection criteria. Ensuring your project aligns with State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) will be key to a competitive application at both the state and federal levels.
In 2021, the Department of Interior opened the ORLP grant program to more communities by removing the cap on the number of proposals states can submit on behalf of local jurisdictions and by increasing the maximum grant from $1 million to $5 million.