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Challenge Cost Share Projects

Challenge cost share projects are as diverse as our national parks and programs. This year we seek to support projects that serve parks and programs and promote bold innovation and broad new initiatives in one or more of three thematic categories:

  1. Urban Outreach: Projects to promote active healthy living; to restore or conserve community natural and cultural assets; to promote close-to-home recreational access and greenways.
  2. Youth Engagement: Projects to engage school-age participants to play, learn, serve, and work associated with NPS parks and programs.
  3. Connecting People to the Outdoors: Projects to enhance tangible and/or intangible access to the outdoors providing increased recreation opportunities.

Local projects can vary in size from $5,000 - $50,000 including the match.

Examples of past projects:

  • Building Community Awareness & Support for Improved Access to Jamaica Bay water trails, Gateway National Recreation Area, NYC

    Regional Plan Association (RPA), in partnership with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program (NPS) staff, Gateway National Recreation Area Jamaica Bay (Gateway) unit rangers, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance and Sebago Canoe Club, hosted a “City of Water Day Celebration” event that engaged over 100 local and city-wide community members in kayaking and canoeing at the Sebago Canoe Club Clubhouse on Paerdegat Basin. Twelve Sebago Canoe Club members staffed and volunteered to allow participants at every level to experience the Jamaica Bay waterfront. RPA, NPS and Gateway staffed an outreach table where they received feedback from event participants regarding the challenges and opportunities to expanding and improving the Jamaica Bay water trail.

    In total, 47 community members participated in 3 summer workshops, hosted by RPA and the NPS, providing similar input regarding potential use and improvements for the Jamaica Bay Greenway & waterfront, including locations for future kayak launches. RPA began collecting information regarding the history, planning, and existing visions for the Jamaica Bay water trail, interviewing water trail planners, program facilitators, and expert users. A kayak tour for government, philanthropic, and business elites, highlighting the benefits of improved and expanded Jamaica Bay water trails is planned for the summer of 2014.

  • Rekindling Connections to Cultural and Natural Resources along the Escalante River, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, AZ

    This project enabled Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and partners to further Challenge Cost Share and A Call to Action program mandates by engaging underserved Native American youth in natural and cultural resource stewardship projects in their national parks. Seven Native American youth jumpstarted restoration of native plant and animal communities along the Escalante River by controlling invasive non-native Russian olive trees (treated 16.47 acres). Native American youth worked alongside the Coconino Rural Environmental Corps which enabled the youth to learn about and connect to the world of youth conservation corps. In addition, project participants learned about Ancestral Puebloan culture and NPS cultural resource stewardship by visiting and discussing historic sites in Glen Canyon. These diverse youth gained a great deal of natural and cultural resource stewardship knowledge, and contributed to a critical park project. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and project partners are planning to further develop this program in 2014, and are committed to developing the next generation of diverse land stewards.

  • Trail Protection Planning for the North Country National Scenic Trail, MI

    The Trail Protection Planning was performed in partnership with North Country Trail Association (NCTA) and focused on the collection, mapping, analysis and strategizing to close gaps along the North Country Trail in Michigan. Inventory and mapping are completed. From the identified gaps, a number of Optimum Location Reviews have been performed (and more are planned) to identify trail route and corridor locations. Additionally, The North Country Trail and NCTA are working with the NPS National Trails Land Resources Program Center, Heart of the Lakes for Land Conservation Policy and a number of land trusts in Michigan to explore how an extended partnership with state land trusts can protect not only trail routes, but also trail corridors in the state. One introductory meeting has been held and follow-up meetings are planned through FY 14 with the goal being a unified strategy for land protection in Michigan.


Challenge Cost Share Program | Federal Lands to Parks | Hydropower Relicensing Program
Land and Water Conservation | Fund National Center for Recreation and Conservation | National Trails System
Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers | Rivers and Trails Program | Urban Park and Recreation Recovery

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