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 grants to acquire and/or develop public lands for outdoor recreation purposes consistent with the purposes of LWCF, but with the further specific goals of funding projects that:

  • Are located within or serve an Urbanized Area (population of 50,000 or more) as designated by the Census Bureau from the 2010 Census; and
  • Are in, or are directly accessible to, neighborhoods or communities that are underserved in terms of parks and recreation resources and where there are significant populations of people who are economically disadvantaged.


The map below shows eligible counties for North Carolina. Hover over each county to see the list of eligible municipalities and adjacent municipalities in each one.

A county can apply for the ORLP grant if the park is or will be located within the limits of the eligible municipality.

Background Information

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The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) State and Local Assistance Program was created by Congress in 1964 to assist in preserving, developing, and assuring accessibility to present and future generations of U.S. citizens and visitors "such quality and quantity of outdoor recreation resources as may be available and are necessary and desirable for individual active participation in such recreation and to strengthen the health and vitality of the citizens of the United States[.]"

This is accomplished in part by authorizing and providing grants to states, and through states to local units of government and federally recognized Native American tribes, for projects that will provide outdoor recreation opportunities to the public through the acquisition of lands and waters for parks and other outdoor recreation areas, as well as through the development of new, or the renovation of existing, outdoor recreation facilities.

The LWCF State and Local Assistance Program is operated by the National Park Service (NPS) in partnership with designated lead agencies in each of the 50 states, as well as American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Congress allocates money from the LWCF for this program, which is then allocated to the states based on a legislative formula.

To be eligible for LWCF grants, states must maintain an approved Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), which must be updated at least once every 5 years. Among other things, SCORPs are used to assess the supply and demand for outdoor recreation resources and set priorities for the use of LWCF funds.

In 2014, in coordination with Congress and the Secretary of the Interior, the National Park Service created the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) Program, a competitive grant program administered under the authority of the LWCF Act. NPS designated ORLP with input from congressional committee staff, the states, and other interested parties.

As designed, the goal of the ORLP Program is to provide new or significantly improve recreation opportunities for economically disadvantaged communities in larger urbanized areas (as designated by the Census Bureau) that are underserved in terms of parks and other outdoor recreation resources. With congressional support, the NPS has funded and issued grants pursuant to the ORLP each year.

ORLP grants are selected through an NPS-lead national competition, following a solicitation and nomination by the states, and such grants do not count against state LWCF apportionments.

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