National Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) Program

Program purpose

The National Park Service (NPS) is targeting projects that provide new or significantly improved recreation opportunities in urban, disadvantaged communities that meet the recreation goals as identified in, and align with, at least one priority of the State's Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). Applicants must be an incorporated city (or town) or unincorporated area having a population of 30,000 or more according to the 2020 Census.  In addition, the proposed project must be located within a census tract determined to be disadvantaged per the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST). Nature based projects are the only priority under Round 7*.

*This competition will prioritize projects that are nature-based. This is defined as:

  • Projects where nature is a major element of, or strongly supports the proposed recreational activity.

Please review the National Park Service (NPS) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for ORLP program information requirements. Additional Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) information is available in the LWCF Federal Financial Assistance Manual, volume 72 (PDF) effective March 11, 2021.

How it works

The MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is soliciting project proposals from eligible applicants and conducting the initial review and evaluation. Only the DNR can submit applications under this program.

Eligible applicants (also known as the project sponsor)

To be eligible, an applicant must be one of the following:

  1. Incorporated city (or town) or unincorporated areas having a population of at least 30,000 according to the 2020 Census. Eligible cities with population 30,000 or more (PDF). Project location must be within a census tract determined to be disadvantaged per the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool

Multi-organization collaboration is not required for this program.

Eligible projects

Acquisition or development (or a combination) of lands and facilities that will provide outdoor recreation opportunities to the public and are consistent with the outdoor recreation priorities outlined in Minnesota's 2020-2024 State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). SCORP establishes outdoor recreation priorities for Minnesota to assist outdoor recreation and natural resource managers, the state legislature, and the executive branch in decision-making about the state's outdoor recreation system, and sets out criteria for awarding grants consistent with these identified priorities.

All park projects must meet requirements for perpetual outdoor recreation use.

Level of assistance

Funding for this grant program is provided by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. Approximately $224,145,000 is available nationwide.

NPS will award grants for up to 50 percent of the total eligible costs with a minimum grant award of $300,000 and a maximum grant award of $15,000,000. ORLP projects must be cost-shared with non-federal funds at a minimum ratio of 1:1. The local share can consist of cash or in-kind contributions of materials, labor and equipment or any combination thereof. At the time of application, the cost-sharing or matching share must be secured or firmly committed. All matching shared must be supported by a signed letter from the donor confirming the type (cash, in-kind, etc.) and the amount/value of the contribution.

Costs must be incurred and paid for before reimbursement can be made.

Funding priorities: ORLP program competition priorities

The competition will prioritize the selection of projects:

  • where nature is a major element of, or strongly supports the proposed recreational activity

Selection notices

State application deadline

Applications are due to the DNR, Parks and Trails Division by:
Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Federal award notices

NPS anticipates that preliminary selection of projects will occur by November 1, 2024. 

Project period

Projects cannot begin until a final application has been submitted and approved by NPS and an agreement between the applicant and the State has been signed. Selected projects must submit a full application for NPS final review within one year of the announcement (Nov. 1, 2025) to remain eligible for funding. Awards will be made upon NPS’s final review and approval of the full application. The period of performance for these grants is typically two to three years.

How to apply

Please contact program staff to discuss your project and the application requirements prior to completing an application to ensure your project meets eligibility requirements.

Applications are due to the DNR, Division of Parks and Trails by Wednesday, January 31, 2024. To apply, leave the application, checklist, and federal forms in a single Word document. Combine all other attachments into one PDF and email both files to [email protected].

The following federal forms can be downloaded from (LWCF Forms):

  • Federal application and revision (A&R) form
  • Federal description and notification (DNR) form

The following federal forms can be downloaded from

  • Federal disclosure of lobbying activities


Jennifer Bubke, Grants Specialist: [email protected], 651-259-5638

Parks and Trails Division
500 Lafayette Road, Box 39
Saint Paul, MN 55155


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