Challenge Cost Share Applications deadline is Friday, April 23, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. PST.

Purpose and Scope:

  • The Challenge Cost Share program is intended to support specific National Park Service mission-related projects that align with goals of local project partners.
  • Challenge Cost Share Projects must support one or more of the following purposes:
    • Climate Change Adaptation. Projects that build park resiliency to changing climate conditions. Projects can include developing green infrastructure and nature-based solutions.
    • Outdoor Recreation. Projects that increase public access to outdoor recreation opportunities.
    • Youth Engagement. In addition to projects that get youth on NPS-administered waterways, other projects will be considered that engage youth with other meaningful connections to natural, cultural, historical and recreation resources; stewardship of park resources; and building outdoor skills for life-long enjoyment of our public lands and waterways.
  • Projects that benefit NPS administered National Parks, National Trails and Wild and Scenic Rivers.
  • National Park Service staff will work with NPS 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, governemnt 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 fiscal 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 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 all come 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.


Two bikers overlooking a river at Glacier National Park.

Project Examples

Learn about past projects.

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: March 25, 2021