Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Grants Program

Visitors ride bikes and jog down a paved path along a river in the Georgetown Waterfront Park during the springtime.
The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program was established in 2014 and is funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. ORLP is a nationally competitive program targeting grant assistance to help economically disadvantaged urban communities with no, or almost no, access to publicly available, close-by, outdoor recreation. Funds can be used for for the acquisition and/or development of, or to substantially renovate obsolete, public parks and other outdoor recreation spaces. Projects are selected for funding by the Director of the NPS.

Matching grants (1:1) are available to help acquire and/or develop public land for all manner of outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, camping, unstructured play, picnicking, cycling, field and court sports, fishing, bird watching, swimming, paddling, and skating. Funds can be used for directly recreational facilities as well as some supporting facilities and infrastructure such as restrooms/bathhouses, cabins, pool houses, lighting, parking areas, etc. when part of a larger project to develop recreation facilities.

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Active Funding Opportunities

The National Park Service is currently accepting applications for $192 million in ORLP grants.

Applications will be accepted in Grants.gov through May 31, 2023, with an early submission deadline of January 31, 2023.

View the Notice of Funding Opportunity.

Technical Assistance Webinar

NPS staff joined the City Parks Alliance, along with the National League of Cities, National Recreation and Park Association, and Trust for Public Land, on a technical asistance webinar to provide details on eligibility, provide tips on writing applications, review the application and selection process, and answer questions. View the recorded webinar on the City Parks Alliance website.

Application Information

When funding is available, states may submit applications through Grants.gov. The application due date and detailed application requirements can be found the Grants.gov funding opportunity for the current ORLP round. Dates and requirements can vary year to year so potential applicants are encouraged to sign-up to receive alerts about ORLP notice of funding opportunities on Grants.gov. State selection deadlines will be earlier and may include additional requirements.
A man holds a little girl while pointing at lotus flowers
Family at the 2018 Lotus and Water Lily Festival

NPS/Rachel Hendrix

Eligibility

ORLP is supported by funding available through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act (54 U.S.C. 2003) and is administered specifically under the authority of Section 200305, Financial Assistance to States. This means ORLP projects must meet the same requirements as projects supported by the LWCF formula grant program, including the requirement that the assisted site be maintained and accessible exclusively for public outdoor recreation use, in perpetuity. This applies to the assisted park or area as a whole, not just the area assisted with funds.

To be eligible, projects must be directly located in communities that are:

  • low-income and

  • lack adequate parks or other outdoor recreation spaces

Further, priority is given to projects that:

  • Increase access to nature’s benefits, such as green spaces and natural landscapes

  • Engage members of the targeted economically disadvantaged community in all aspects of the development and implementation the project

  • Create or expand public-private partnerships that leverage matching share (cash or in-kind)

  • Demonstrate coordination among government agencies, the private sector, and the public

  • Advance the goals of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) as well as other local, regional, and state plans and/or initiatives

Eligible applicants/Eligible sub-recipients

The LWCF Act provides that only State Lead Agencies for the LWCF may apply for funds. However, the lead agency may apply on behalf of itself or on behalf of an eligible sub-recipient (includes other state agencies, government subdivisions, special purpose districts such as park districts, and federally recognized Indian tribes). Nonprofits and other private organizations, though not eligible for a subgrant, are encouraged to collaborate with an eligible sub-recipient in developing projects. Entities interested in seeking funding under the ORLP program should contact their State’s Lead Agency to get details about their state’s process for selecting and nominating projects to the NPS’ national competition.

Minimum Poverty Rate

The current Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) states that projects must "serve the specific needs of a community(ies) that is (are) severely lacking in walkable, publicly accessible, outdoor recreation (“park deserts”), and that has a poverty rate of at least 20% or that is at least 10% higher than that of the project city, county, and state rates)."

In the underlined section, what is meant is that community (based on its Census Tract) must be a full 10 percentage points above the highest poverty rate of the city, county and state. For example, a community in a Census Tract with a poverty rate of only 18% would have to be within a city, county and state each having a rate of not more than 8% to be eligible.

Location of communities and project in relation to the eligible city/town

The urban, economically-disadvantaged community served by the proposed park/site must be within an incorporated city or town having a population of 30,000 or more per the 2020 U.S. Census. The proposed park/project site must be within or abut the city, but must still be within a 10-minute walk (.5 miles) of the community served.

Contacts

Entities interested in seeking funding under the ORLP program should contact their State Lead Agency to get details about their State’s process for selecting and nominating projects to the National Park Service’s national competition.

All other questions may be sent by email.

Learn More

  • Search on Grants.gov using keywords “Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership” and CFDA number “15.916” to view any current competitive round opportunities.
  • To participate in learning sessions about the ORLP program and application requirements, contact City Parks Alliance to be notified of upcoming webinars or view recorded sessions.

Sample Completed Projects

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      Last updated: September 20, 2022