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Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a Federally funded grant program administrated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.  Typically, the program awards about $1.5 million to qualified projects every other year.  Since 1964, this national grant program has awarded over $55 million in grant funds for Oregon recreational areas and facilities.

Program Overview


Eligible applicants include:

  • Cities
  • Counties
  • Park and Recreation Districts
  • Port District
  • Indian Tribes
  • Oregon State Agencies (Parks & Recreation Dept., Dept. of State Lands, Department of Fish and Wildlife and Dept. of Forestry).

Project Types include:

LWCF grants are available to either acquire land for public outdoor recreation or to develop basic outdoor recreation facilities.
Acquisition – Acquiring land and water for public access, including new area or additions to existing parks, forests, wildlife areas, beaches or similar.
Development – Developing outdoor recreation activities and support facilities needed by the public for recreation activities, including providing basic facilities and improvement of basic facilities.
Projects must be consistent with the outdoor recreation goals and objectives stated in the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan  (SCORP) and elements of your local comprehensive land use plans and park master plans. Projects must also comply with the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Match Criteria:

LWCF provides up to 50 percent project funding. Eligible matches include local budged funds, donated funds, and the value of property, equipment, materials, and/or labor.  

Land previously acquired and work completed prior to project approval cannot be used as a match.  Pre-agreement design and engineering costs may be eligible, but all other projects costs and match must occur within the project period.

Legal Protection for Grant Assisted Recreation Sites:

Section 6(f)(3) of the LWCF Act contains strong provisions to protect Federal investments and the quality of assisted resources. Any site that has been acquired, developed, or improved, no matter how small the improvement, with funds from the LWCF grant program, must be open to the public and maintained in perpetuity (forever) for public outdoor recreation.

Section 6(f)(3) of the LWCF Act

  • SEC. 6(f)(3) No property acquired or developed with assistance under this section shall, without the approval of the Secretary, be converted to other than public outdoor recreation uses. The Secretary shall approve such conversion only if he finds it to be in accord with the then existing comprehensive statewide outdoor recreation plan and only upon such conditions as he deems necessary to assure the substitution of other recreation properties of at least equal fair market value and of reasonably equivalent usefulness and location.

Acceptance of an LWCF grant agreement with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department requires the recipient/project sponsor to assume the responsibility for compliance with LWCF Act, any and all program requirements, and applicable state and local laws. In signing the grant agreement with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the sponsor accepts the responsibility for compliance and the consequences of non-compliance.

Inspections are required on LWCF assisted areas to monitor the project sponsor’s compliance with program requirements. Project sponsors with recreation areas found in non-compliance will be notified in writing of the problems and given direction on remediation.

History of the Program

The Land and Water Conservation Fund State Assistance program was established by the LWCF Act of 1965 (Section 6, Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, as amended; Public Law 88-578; 16 U.S.C 4601-4 et seq.) to stimulate a nationwide action program to assist in preserving, developing, and assuring to all citizens of the United States 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.  The LWCF State Assistance Program provides matching grants to States, and through the States to local governments, for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities.  

The LWCF program was administered by the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation (BOR) from its beginning in 1965 to 1978 when the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (HCRS) was created.  HCRS then administered the program until 1981 when the LWCF was transferred to the Department of Interior, National Park Service.

For additional information, visit the National Park Service website at:

Grant Cycle Schedule

February 24, 2020: Grant cycles begins. 2020 manual and online application available.

March 3, 2020: Webinar Workshop. Register in advance at

March 9, 2020: Live Workshop in Salem. Register in advance by emailing

April 13, 2020: Grant Application Due

May 5-6, 2020: Oregon Outdoor Recreation Committee meets May 5 and 6 via web conference to evaluate grant applications for the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant program. The meeting is open to the public.

Final Agenda

Listen to the meeting by dialing +1 (914) 614-3221, webinar ID: 721-882-459. To view the applicant presentations in real time, register online for the GoToMeeting web conference:

Dates are subject to change.

Grant Program Guidance and Forms

​The Land and Water Conservation Fund Manual includes program policies, eligibility requirements, information about the application process, current scoring criteria, and grant management policies. Updates are made every other year.

LWCF Manual

Workshops are offered for applicants to learn more about the grant program and application process.

Watch the March 11, 2020 Webinar on YouTube at

Watch the January 10, 2018 Webinar on YouTube at

View the 2020 Webinar as PDF.

View 2018 Webinar as PDF.

​OPRD utilizes an online grants application system. The application can be accessed online when the grant cycle is open. Interested applicants must have an account on OPRD Grants to apply and if needed, can request an account at any time.

Online Application Instructions: Refer to these instructions to navigate the application system on OPRD Grants

LWCF Grant Program-Quick Facts

LWCF Grant Program-FAQ: Updated frequently

Pre-Application Worksheets:
Use the three worksheets below as a guide when preparing answers for the Online Application. Your answers can then be cut and pasted from the Worksheet to the Application.


Federal LWCF Grant Manual and Forms

Refer to the current LWCF Policy Manual  for comprehensive information about reporting requirements and state and federal laws that apply to the program.

Progress reports and reimbursement requests must be submitted on

Refer to the Online Grant Reimbursement and Reporting Instructions  for detailed information.

Reporting Forms:

Important Information:

Maps must be to scale, or show actual dimensions;  show all existing facilities, easements, utilities, and new facilities proposed in application; should be color-coded for ease of understanding; will be reviewed by the Oregon Outdoor Recreation Committee (OORC) prior to your schedule presentation. The project boundary map must clearly delineate the park boundary, which is subject to the conversion provisions of Section 6(f)(3) of the LWCF Act.

  • Overhead utility lines constitute a major detraction from the natural quality of outdoor recreation areas and must be eliminated where possible. Reasonable steps must be taken to ensure the burial, screening or relocation of overhead lines, where lines visibly intrude on the site’s character. All new electrical wires under 15KV, and telephone wires, must be placed underground. If existing lines cannot be removed, rerouted, or buried, please explain in the program narrative and environmental assessment.
  • All project sponsors will be assessed an administrative fee for an approved project.
  • Within one year after project approval, project sponsor must have contracts awarded and/or have completed at least 25 percent of the project.
  • No project may begin without authorization from OPRD through a signed State/Local Agreement.
  • Projects that do not receive funding may be revised and submitted in another grant cycle.
  • Project areas and facilities must remain open for public outdoor recreation use in perpetuity. Areas and facilities funded with LWCF assistance in the past must be in compliance with the LWCF program guidelines. LWCF acknowledgement signs must be posted on the site.
  • LWCF acknowledgement signs are available upon request.

Grant Advisory Committee

The Oregon Outdoor Recreation Committee (OORC) is a nine-member committee appointed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Director. The committee meets annually and at other times upon the call of the Director. The committee members serve non-concurrent four-year terms and represent the following interests:

  • Counties east of the Cascade Mountains;
  • Counties west of the Cascade Mountains;
  • Cities under 15,000 populations;
  • Cities over 15,000 populations;
  • Park and Recreation Districts, Metropolitan Service District or Port Districts
  • Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
  • People with Disabilities
  • Minorities; or Representatives from Tribal Governments
  • Public-at-Large

Selection of committee members shall be from lists supplied by the Oregon Parks Association, Association of Oregon Counties, League of Oregon Cities, Oregon Recreation and Park Association,
Special Districts Association of Oregon, and recommendations from the Director.
For more information about the Committee, contact the LWCF Program Coordinator.

The Oregon Outdoor Recreation Committee (OORC) will meet May 5 and 6 via web conference to evaluate grant applications for the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant program. The meeting is open to the public.

Listen to the meeting by dialing +1 (914) 614-3221, webinar ID: 721-882-459. To view the applicant presentations in real time, register online for the GoToMeeting web conference:

Final Agenda

Grant Awards

​Refer to these lists for descriptions of recent projects funded by LWCF.




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