The U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, provides LWCF matching grants to States and local governments for the acquisition and development of outdoor recreation areas. The LWCF was established by Congress in 1964 “…to assist in preserving, developing and assuring accessibility to all citizens of the United States of America of present and future generations…such quality and quantity of outdoor recreation resources as may be available and are necessary and desirable for individual active participation…”
All political subdivisions of the State are eligible to participate in the LWCF program. As such, municipalities, counties, state agencies, state and local educational institutions, and state authorities created by the legislature may apply for LWCF assistance. LWCF assistance may be used for the acquisition of land and water interests for park purposes, the development of new outdoor recreation facilities, and in certain instances, the renovation of existing public outdoor recreational facilities.
Virtually all public outdoor recreation activities are eligible for assistance through the program to include playgrounds, ball fields (including lighting with metal or concrete poles only), court sports, picnic areas, camping areas, trails, swimming facilities and splash pads, etc. In addition, outdoor recreational support facilities such as concession stands, restrooms, press boxes, park access roads, parking areas, utilities, and site preparation necessary to make a recreation activity area usable may qualify for assistance.
The LWCF program provides 50 percent matching assistance to project sponsors. The project sponsor may provide the remaining 50 percent of the project costs in the form of cash and/or in-kind/donated materials and/or services. Grant funds are distributed to project sponsors on a cost-reimbursable basis.
The following program criteria apply to all applicants seeking LWCF assistance:
- The need for the facility/activity must be documented in Alabama’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).
- The property to be developed must be owned by an eligible applicant.
- The applicant must agree to manage and operate the LWCF assisted site for public outdoor recreation in perpetuity.
- Existing outdoor recreation areas owned and operated by the applicant must be well maintained.
- The applicant must agree to comply with all other laws, rules, and regulations associated with the LWCF program.
|Crystal G. Talley
Community Services Unit Chief
Recreation and Conservation Programs Specialist