Creating Local Parks and Recreation Since 1949 

The Federal Lands to Parks program helps communities to acquire, reuse and protect surplus federal properties for local parks and recreation. States, counties, and communities may acquire federal land and buildings no longer needed by the federal government at no cost on condition they are protected for public parks and recreation. Since its inception in 1949, this program has transferred about 184,000 acres of land to state and local governments for parks and recreation use.

The Federal Lands to Parks program is a public benefit conveyance program under the Federal Property Act, 40 U.S.C. 550(b) and (e), to help increase close to home recreation opportunities while reducing the federal government’s inventory of real property. The program also facilitates the stewardship of former Recreational Demonstration Areas. The recreational demonstration areas consists of Federal areas transferred to States in the 1930s and 1940s on the condition that they remain available and protected for public park, recreational, and conservation purposes. 

The NPS Federal Lands to Parks program works with communities interested in acquiring property for parks and recreation, from finding out about available property, assisting with the application, advocating for the public recreation, and deeding the property. NPS continues to work with communities to ensure this land remains available and used for public parks and recreation in perpetuity and to protect important natural and cultural resources.  

The Federal Lands to Parks program cooperates with other NPS offices, federal agencies, and external partners to extend the benefits of parks and recreation. To learn more, visit National Park Service Urban Programs (

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Locate your regional contact and find land for local recreation in your area.

Aerial view of Fort Trumbull, CT.

Learn more about how the FLP program repurposes former military bases.

Last updated: July 12, 2023