Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program

The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program is a subset of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund's "state-side" grants. The purpose of the program is to provide new or significantly improved recreation opportunities in urban, disadvantaged communities.

ORLP was created in 2014 in coordination with Congress and the Secretary of the Interior. Grants are selected through a national competition led by the National Park Service, following a solicitation and nomination by the states. ORLP grants do not count against state LWCF appointments.

Learn more about LWCF

Application Information

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To meet ORLP objectives and goals, projects must be:

  • located within an incorporated city (or town) or unincorporated area having a population of 30,000 or more in the 2020 Census, and
  • located within a community (Census tract) that is determined to be disadvantaged per the Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool (includes the tract of the project site and community/communities served).

Assistance is available for a wide range of outdoor recreation uses and the facilities needed to support the use and enjoyment of these areas. These include, but are not limited to:

  • community parks,
  • campgrounds,
  • sports fields and courts,
  • picnic areas,
  • tracks for walking or biking,
  • water-based recreation facilities such as for swimming or boating, etc., and
  • pools.

Ineligible ORLP Project Types and Limits of Awards Per Site

  • Most indoor recreation and other buildings, such as nature centers or education centers (however facilities to support the use of the recreating public, such as restrooms, can be eligible)
  • Parks/sites that are currently receiving an LWCF formula grant, or that received an LWCF formula grant that closed within the last 7 years, at the same park, even if the scope of the project is different
  • Parks/sites that have already received two previous ORLP awards or additional ORLP funds to cover cost increases of a previous ORLP grant project

Because green and blue spaces and tree cover help to cool the air, reduce pollution, and have positive effects on mental and physical health, nature-based projects will earn a 5-point bonus. Nature-based projects are those where nature is a major element of — or strongly supports — the proposed recreational activity.

Additional benefits beyond the above may assist a project in standing apart from other projects, but they cannot be used as a replacement for the stated priority. Additional benefits may included, but are not limited to, projects that:

  • expand public-private partnerships to leverage matching share resources (e.g. money or donated lands, supplies, or services);
  • provide economic benefits to the local community (e.g. short- or long-term jobs or stimulation to local businesses near the park);
  • use sustainable design/materials;
  • include site features that consider the needs of all demographics; and/or
  • involve the redevelopment of a blighted or distressed property.

The LWCF Act requires that any park or other outdoor recreation area benefitting from assistance from the LWCF, whether for acquisition or development purposes, and regardless of the amount or extent of assistance, not be covered to any use other than public outdoor recreation (see 54 U.S.C. 200305(f)(3)).

Therefore, as a condition of the grant, the NPS requires that language be recorded against the deed of the assisted park/recreation property advising that the property was acquired and/or developed with federal funds from the LWCF, and that the property must be preserved for outdoor recreation uses in perpetuity and cannot be converted to any use other than public outdoor recreation use without the written approval of the Secretary of the Interior. This approval is contingent upon the project sponsor replacing the area to be converted with a new recreation area involving land of at least equal fair market value and reasonably equivalent recreation utility, and the conversion and its replacement are consistent with the state's SCORP.

The perpetuity requirement is applied to the assisted park or other recreation area as a whole. Exceptions for boundaries that would apply to a lesser unit of a park will be considered only if the unit is a standalone recreation area (i.e., its borders do not include other areas of the park) and is self-sustaining (i.e., it does not rely on nor serve adjoining park area(s) for access, utilities, support facilities, etc.). The state and the NPS must agree to any boundary that does not comprise the whole park. The NPS may eliminate from consideration any proposal that is not consistent with this policy.

Current Funding Opportunity

Estimated Total Funding Available $224,145,000+
Expected Award Amounts $300,000 to $15,000,000
Anticipated Award Date Nov. 1, 2025
Anticipated Term of Agreement Feb. 1, 2026 to Feb. 28, 2028
Estimated Number of Agreements to be Awarded 40


This seventh round of ORLP will make available over $224 million in funds appropriated by Congress in fiscal year 2023, plus unused funds from prior years, if available and subject to Congressional action.

Projects will be awarded a minimum of $300,000 and a maximum of $15 million.

The NPS announcement of selected projects is anticipated to be on Nov. 1, 2024. Selected projects must submit a full application for NPS final review within 1 year of the announcement (Nov. 1, 2025) to remain eligible for funding. Awards will be made upon final review and approval of the full application by the NPS.

Agreement terms for funded projects will run between 2-3 years, depending on the negotiated project statement of work. Agreements are not effective until fully executed with a signature from the NPS Financial Assistance Awarding Officer.



Please refer to the Notification of Funding Announcement for all required forms and documentation. While the NPS is utilizing a two-step submission process, the division is requiring a complete application for submission to demonstrate sponsor commitment and project readiness. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Recreation Grants and Outreach Staff
Manager Vonda Martin
Grants Specialist
Lillian Heaton
Grants Specialist
Cande Killian Wood
Mailing Address 1615 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1615
Physical Address Division of Parks and Recreation
Nature Research Center, 2nd floor
121 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC 27603