Parks and Recreation Trust Fund

Since 1994, the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) awards matching grants to local governments for parks, public beach access, and improvements in state parks. The statewide program helps local governments reach their park and public access goals to improve the quality of life in their communities.

Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Projects

Frequently Asked Questions

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The North Carolina General Assembly funds PARTF each year at different levels.

The Parks and Recreation Authority, a citizen board, allocated PARTF funds to applicants. The PRA is a nine-member group appointed by the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate, and the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives.

The PRA has selected grant recipients and allocated money from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund since 1997. Innovative, high-quality park projects in all 100 North Carolina counties have been awarded PARTF funds.

Local governments apply for PARTF grants each year. The PRA solicits comments and input from local governments and the public about each project. Applications are evaluated according to:

  • quality of planning
  • public involvement in the planning process
  • recreation facilities provided
  • quality of site with respect to its surroundings
  • quality of park land to be acquired
  • the applicant's ability to operate and maintain the park project

The money from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund is allocated as follows:

  • 65% for North Carolina state parks capital projects, repairs, and renovations of facilities, and land acquisition;

    • 4% of these funds go to the DuPont State Recreational Forest
  • 30% for local government grants on a dollar-for-dollar basis, which create or improve parks and recreational projects;
  • 5% for the Coastal and Estuarine Water Beach Access Program.

No more than 3% may be used for administration of the funds.

PARTF has helped build and maintain parks, greenways, trails, playgrounds, water accesses, and so much more! PARTF grants create opportunities for staying active and enjoying the outdoors, while bolstering our state and local economies and quality of life.

PARTF Grants Total Per County

About the Map

Hover over the map to see how many projects PARTF has funded in that county, as well as the grant amount, local match amount, and total value in park projects.

The map colors represent the eight regions of the state: West (dark olive), Northwest (light red), Southwest (orange), Piedmont Triad (deep purple), Sandhills (green), North Central (light yellow), Northeast (light blue), and Southeast (light violet).

1994 to 1999 179 projects
$26,870,954 in grant money
$61,358,160 in local match money
$88,229,114 total in park projects
2000 to 2009 457 projects
$117,035,289 in grant money
$221,065,420 in local match
$338,100,709 total in park projects
2010 to 2019 272 projects
$67,182,685 in grant money
$147,184,058 in local match
$214,336,743 total in park projects
2020 to present* 75 projects
$24,577,230 in grant money
$80,480,976 in local match
$105,058,206 total in park projects
Total to date* 993 projects
$235,666,158 in grant money
$510,088,614 in local match
$745,754,772 total in park projects

* = As of January 1, 2022

All PARTF grants

Benefits Beyond Money

The citizens of North Carolina and their visitors to the state have certainly enjoyed new amenities made possible by the PARTF program. There are many important benefits that aren't as easy to see:

  • The PARTF program improves the opportunity to plan for future growth, like long-term initiatives for both land acquisition and capital projects.
  • The Division's New Parks for a New Century initiative was launched in 2001 with a team examining every known site within N.C. and scoring them on criteria involving natural resource value, sustainability for park development, and proximity to population centers.
  • Communities have benefited by the planning for local park projects that is encouraged by the scoring system used to evaluate PARTF grant applications. Local governments with better plans and public involvement have received more grants.
  • The Parks and Recreation Authority has consistently awarded grants to the best local park projects while distributing them to more than 350 local governments, small and large, in all of North Carolina's 100 counties.
  • PARTF allows the Division of Parks and Recreation to build mutually beneficial and long-lasting partnerships.
  • The Clean Water Management Trust Fund was established in the early 1990s for the protection of water quality through clean water initiatives, easements, and land acquisition along riparian areas, etc., and has become a great supporter of parks projects across the state.
  • Calling on the state's conservation funds in different combinations has given the state great flexibility for a broad strategic conservation plan. And, it has allowed the state to act more quickly to take advantage of conservation opportunities.
  • The trust fund has allowed state parks to build trust and a close working relationship with national and regional land trusts and often with local governments.

The Parks and Recreation Authority

The nine-member Parks and Recreation Authority, meeting quarterly, allocates money from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. The board is comprised of five members appointed by the Governor, including the chairperson; two members appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate; and two members appointed by the Speaker of the House. Members are appointed for 3-year terms.

Responsibilities of the Authority

The Authority is charged with six powers and duties to:

  1. Receive public and private donations and funds for deposit into the fund;
  2. Allocate funds for land acquisition;
  3. Allocated funds for capital projects;
  4. Solicit financial and material support;
  5. Develop effective support for parks and recreation; and
  6. Advise the Secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources on any matter they may refer to the body.
     

2022 Authority Meetings

Next Meeting

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Illustration of a park, with a child flying a kite in the foreground and two people riding a bike
Asheville, NC
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Mavis Gragg, chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Authority

Chairperson Mavis Gragg

Durham County
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Amber Brown, member of the Parks and Recreation Authority

Amber Brown

Cleveland County
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Chad Brown, member of the Parks and Recreation Authority

Chad Brown

Gaston County
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Beth Heile, member of the Parks and Recreation Authority

Beth Heile

Burke County
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Lewis Ledford, member of the Parks and Recreation Authority

Lewis Ledford

Forsyth County
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Doug Auer, a member of the Parks and Recreation Authority

Doug Auer

Catawba County
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Margaret Newbold, member of the Parks and Recreation Authority

Margaret Newbold

Watauga County
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Barnes Sutton, member of the Parks and Recreation Authority

Barnes Sutton

New Hanover County
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Cynthia Tart, member of the Parks and Recreation Authority

Cynthia Tart

Pender County

Contact Information

Recreation Grants and Outreach Staff
Manager Vonda Martin
vonda.martin@ncparks.gov
919-707-9338
Grants Specialist Lillian Heaton
lillian.heaton@ncparks.gov
919-707-9362
Recreation Grants and Outreach Assistant Nate Halubka
nate.halubka@ncparks.gov
919-707-9358
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