Outdoor notes: Outdoor recreation grants accepting applications
Two federal grant programs administered by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission are accepting applications starting May 1 from communities across Nebraska for recreation improvements.
Applications for the Recreation Trails Program and Land and Water Conservation Fund are due Sept. 4, 2023. Grants recommended for approval will be announced at the January 2024 Commission meeting.
Recreational Trails Program
The Recreational Trails Program is a grant program through the Federal Highway Administration that reimburses political subdivisions — such as communities, counties and natural resources districts — up to $250,000 or 80% of project costs for trail acquisition, development, renovation and support facilities.
This funding source is for motorized and nonmotorized trail projects. It is divided by category: 30% for motorized projects, 30% for nonmotorized projects and 40% for diversified or shared-use trail projects.
Applicants must have the financial means to undertake and maintain the project and all funding should be on hand as this is a reimbursable grant program.
Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program administered by the National Park Service, provides matching funds for outdoor recreation projects.
Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, swimming pools, picnicking facilities, sports fields, playgrounds, pool renovations, splash pads, park acquisitions and development, wildlife viewing facilities, fishing access, adventure spots (such as ziplines and rock-climbing) and park-related support facilities.
All projects must encourage outdoor recreation. Project sponsors must be a political subdivision, such as cities, county governments or natural resource districts. The LWCF provides reimbursable matching grants for up to 50% of total project costs.
Grant applicants should have all funding on hand with documentation at the time of submission. The LWCF grant can reimburse between $75,000 and $600,000, equating to a $150,000 or $1.2 million total project cost.
The LWCF was established by Congress in 1964 to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations and to provide money to governments to purchase land, water and wetlands to benefit all. The primary source of revenue for the LWCF is from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf.