Land & Water Conservation Fund Grant

Authorized by the US Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act of 1965 established a federally funded program to provide 1:1 matching financial assistance grants to state and local governments for the purpose acquiring and/or developing public outdoor recreational areas and facilities. The program is administered nationally by the US Department of the Interior, National Park Service (NPS) with 100% of the supporting revenues being generated from offshore oil and gas leases, and 0% from taxpayer dollars. LWCF is intended to create and maintain a nationwide legacy of quality public outdoor recreational resources as well as to stimulate non-federal investments in the establishment, enhancement, and stewardship of these highly valued public outdoor recreational areas. Property acquired or developed with LWCF assistance shall be retained and used for public outdoor recreation. Any property acquired or developed shall not be wholly or partly converted to other than public outdoor recreation uses without the approval of NPS pursuant to the LWCF Act (54 U.S.C. § 200305(f)(3)) and conversion requirements outlined in regulations (36 C.F.R. § 59.3).

LWCF grants for local assistance are passed from the NPS through the State of New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) to eligible sub-units of government. Under the federal program rules the State must develop and maintain a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) and appoint an official State Liaison Officer to participate in the program and receive annual federal program apportionments.  The DNCR, Division of Parks and Recreation, Bureau of Community Recreation manages all aspects of the program including, but not limited to, coordinating grant rounds, determining project eligibility, distributing grant reimbursements, and compliance monitoring of previously funded project sites. Since the creation of the LWCF in 1965 the State has been allocated just under $50,000,000.00 in federal program apportionments, with over 700 individual acquisition and development projects being funded. 
  • Development:  This includes new support facilities or renovation of existing support facilities.
  • Acquisition: This includes purchase of fee simple title or legal control of property for public use. This can be acquisition of abutting land to an existing developed recreational area, private recreational areas to be converted to public use, or undeveloped property to establish a new outdoor recreational area. (Projects to acquire undeveloped property in order create new public outdoor recreational areas must include a component for public access. These types of projects must be submitted as a “combination” below.)
  • Combination: This includes projects that consist of elements for both development and acquisition.

Grant Round 34 is OPEN

For funding consideration, local governments may submit completed Intent-to-Apply forms to the Bureau of Community Recreation by 4:00pm, June 2, 2023.

Intent forms will be reviewed for general sponsor and project eligibility. Eligible sponsors include, but are not limited to, Town or city government units, special districts, school districts, and county governments of the State of New Hampshire. A project site inspection will also be coordinated to further determine site eligibility. An invitation to apply will only be offered after a full determination of eligibility is complete.
Eligible public outdoor recreation project types are as follows:
  • Development:  This includes new support facilities or renovation of existing support facilities.
  • Acquisition: This includes purchase of fee simple title or legal control of property for public use. This can be acquisition of abutting land to an existing developed recreational area, private recreational areas to be converted to public use, or undeveloped property to establish a new outdoor recreational area. (Projects to acquire undeveloped property in order create new public outdoor recreational areas must include a component for public access. These types of projects must be submitted as a “combination” below.)
  • Combination: This includes projects that consist of elements for both development and acquisition.
The LWCF is a 1:1 matching grant program. Sponsors must commit to contributing a minimum of 50% of the overall project costs. Funding requests shall be made for grant award amounts between $50,000.00 (towards $100,000.00+ total project) and $500,000.00 (towards $1,000,000.00+ total project). All grant payments are made on reimbursement basis.


Grant Round 34 Intent-to-Apply forms may be sent to:

LWCF Local Assistance Program
NH Division of Parks and Recreation
Bureau of Community Recreation
172 Pembroke Road
Concord, NH 03301


lwcf@dncr.nh.gov Application workshops will be coordinated for sponsors whose projects are determined to be eligible. Workshop dates and times will be scheduled after reviews of intents and site inspections are complete. Projects that are ultimately funded under Grant Round 34 will likely be given a grant start date of October 1, 2024, with a three-year open project period.

The Bureau of Community Recreation will conduct a live webinar/Q&A session for potential applicants on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, 1:00pm-2:00pm. Please REGISTER HERE.
For more information please call (603) 271-3556, or email lwcf@dncr.nh.gov.

Current Open Projects

Federal Resources: NH Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Past Presentations:
NH Land and Water Conservation Fund, and Recreational Trails Program joint presentation (March 3, 2021).