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Getting Land


Finding out

When federal land becomes available for reuse, the General Services Administration (the military agency, in cases of base closures, or at times, another federal "disposing" agency) will notify other federal and state agencies. Federal Lands to Parks staff review notices of available property for park and recreation opportunities, and notify relevant state, regional and/or local park agencies. A state or local government agency interested in property for parks or recreational areas should notify the Federal Lands to Parks Program regional office in writing of its interest. (See Contact Us). The National Park Service typically has 25 days from the "notice of availability" to notify the General Services Administration of state or local park and recreation interests.


State or local agencies apply for property through the National Park Service Regional Federal Lands to Parks Program offices. By request, the Federal Lands to Parks Program will help a potential applicant in applying for and obtaining surplus property for parks and recreation areas. Successful applications support:

  • the need for the property for parks or recreation, and for historical, natural or recreational preservation

  • the applicant's capability to operate and maintain the property for public parks and recreation

  • the suitability of the property for park and recreational use

  • the program of utilization for the property which describes the proposed park and recreational use and provides a site plan
Getting Ownership

If the application is satisfactory, the Federal Lands to Parks Program requests the property from the Department of Defense or the General Services Administration, or other federal agency disposing of property. Once the National Park Service approves an application, the Federal Land to Parks Program works as an advocate on behalf of the community and its request for the park land. If successful, the National Park Service deeds the land to the applicant with provisions to ensure continued public access, recreational use, and stewardship.


After the land is conveyed, the Federal Lands to Parks Program periodically monitors the property's use and development to make sure that it is managed according to the terms and conditions of the deed and approved use plan. Property deeds specify that the property must remain for public park and recreation use in perpetuity. Also, the property recipient submits a brief biennial report on property use and condition. This helps ensure continued public access and protection of the property's natural and cultural resources.


A new public park and/or recreation area is established, an existing park is expanded; open space, cultural, natural, and recreational resources are protected; people gain access to rivers, lakes, and open space, community and cultural centers, sports and recreational facilities, and the like. Former federal lands remain available for beneficial public use and conservation.

Still have questions? Also, additional information about public benefit conveyances and available property may be obtained through the General Services Administration and Department of Defense web sites.

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