Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Challenge Cost Share Applications
Deadline is January 12, 2024 by 5:00 p.m. PST

Purpose and Scope:

  • The Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Challenge Cost Share program is intended to support specific National Park Service mission-related projects that align with the goals of project partners.
  • Challenge Cost Share projects must support one or more of the following funding themes:
    • Climate Resiliency. Projects that build climate resiliency in our NPS-administered lands and waters.  Projects could include developing green infrastructure, nature-based solutions, and/or creating sustainable energy sources.  
    • Conservation Projects (Lands and Waters). Projects that increase the acres of protected or restored lands and waters.
    • Outdoor Recreation. Projects that increase public access to new and restored outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • Projects that benefit NPS administered National Parks, National Trails and Wild and Scenic Rivers.
  • National Park Service staff will work with project partners to achieve these mutually beneficial outcomes.
  • This partnership challenge seeks to reward proposals that have the best prospects to build enduring benefits and develop new partnerships.


  • NPS Administered Lands and Waters. Projects that directly benefit one or more NPS-administered Parks, National Trails, and Wild and Scenic Rivers (including Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers).  
  • Application Submission. Applications are submitted only by National Park Service managers; project partners are expected to collaborate fully in the application process, but are not themselves eligible to apply.
  • Partner Organization. Partners may be nonprofit organizations, government agencies, Tribes, and educational institutions.
  • NPS Role. National Park Service staff must have a significant project role in working with the partnering organization. The project must have the endorsement of the superintendent or program manager, as well as assurance from the local partner(s) that the project’s budget is viable.
  • Timing. The proposed project should be substantially completed within the calendar year in which it is funded.

Funding and Match:

  • If a project is selected, the partner organization will enter into agreement to receive and manage the project funds consistent with the project’s application, purpose and budget.
  • The partner organization is required to match the amount of the Challenge Cost Share program funding received with an equal share from the partner(s); any combination of dollars and in-kind services can be counted toward the partner's cost share requirement, as long as their match comes from non-federal sources.
  • The maximum Challenge Cost Share program support is $25,000 per project.
  • The Challenge Cost Share program is ONPS funds and must be used for the purpose and benefit of the NPS administered unit.
  • Challenge Cost Share program funding cannot be used to pay for NPS staff salaries or travel.

A red-winged blackbird.
Application Process

Instructions and criteria for applications.

Young kids paddle an extra large canoe on the calm waters of a river.
Submit Your Application

Application portal administered by the National Park Trust. (Please note: the application portal is not accessible when connected to VPN.)

Last updated: October 18, 2023