Want to help an underserved community create more green spaces? The Department of the Interior today announced that the National Park Service will distribute $150 million to local communities through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership, or ORLP, grant program. The program, established in 2014, enables urban communities to create new outdoor recreation spaces, reinvigorate existing parks, and form connections between people and the outdoors in economically underserved communities.
The announcement comes on the heels of the newly launched “America the Beautiful” initiative to support locally led, voluntary conservation and restoration efforts that address the nature and climate crises, improve equitable access to the outdoors, and strengthen the economy. Providing safe outdoor spaces for communities that are park-deprived is one of six areas of focus identified in the report.
The ORLP program, funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), is a nationally competitive grant program that delivers funding to urban areas — jurisdictions of at least 50,000 people — with priority given to projects located in economically disadvantaged areas and lacking in outdoor recreation opportunities.
“To help create more equitable access to the outdoors, we have opened the ORLP grant program to more communities by removing the cap on the number of proposals states can submit on behalf of local jurisdictions and by increasing the maximum grant from $1 million to $5 million,” said Shawn Benge, National Park Service deputy director for operations exercising the delegated authority of the NPS Director.
Funding applications are now being accepted in Grants.gov through September 24. States may apply for the grants, whether on behalf of themselves or eligible urban jurisdictions. Interested jurisdictions should contact their state lead agency for LWCF. A list of contacts can be found at LWCF’s contacts page. Project sponsors must match the grant award 1:1 with non-federal dollars. A total of $150 million in funding is available during this grant cycle. For more information about the program and these ORLP grants, please visit NPS’s Land and Water Conservation Fund page.
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