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LWCF Grants (1965-2014)

Over its first 49 years, LWCF has provided more than $16.7 billion to acquire new federal recreation lands and as grants to State and local governments. For discussion purposes, the LWCF program can be divided into the "State side" -- that is grants to State and local governments, the primary theme of this site; and, the "Federal side" -- the federal portion of the LWCF that is used to acquire lands, waters, and interests therein necessary to achieve the natural, cultural, wildlife, and recreation management objectives of the NPS and other federal land management agencies.

The State Side

40,400 grants to state and local governments over 40 years:

  • $4.1 billion, matched for a total of $8.2 billion
  • 10,600 grants for acquisition of park and recreation lands, including 3,200 "combination" projects for both land purchase and initial recreation development

  • 26,420 grants for development of recreation facilities, in addition to the "combination" projects above
  • 2,760 grants for redevelopment of older recreation facilities, including improved access for people with disabilities
  • 641 state planning grants, to produce six "generations" of analytic studies on recreation potentials, needs, opportunities and policies

Over 40,000 grants to states and localities have been approved under the LWCF grants program for acquisition, development and planning of outdoor recreation opportunities in the United States. Grants have supported purchase and protection of 3 million acres of recreation lands and over 29,000 projects to develop basic recreation facilities in every State and territory of the nation.

Seventy-five percent of the total funds obligated have gone to locally sponsored projects to provide close-to-home recreation opportunities that are readily accessible to America's youth, adults, senior citizens and the physically or mentally challenged. In addition to the thousands of smaller recreation areas, grants have helped to acquire and develop new parks of statewide or national significance such as the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (Maine), Liberty State Park (New Jersey), the Willamette River Greenway (Oregon), Platte River Park (Denver), Herman Brown Park (Houston), and Illinois Beach State Park (Chicago).


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