Land and Water Conservation Fund

The LWCF is a Federal program that provides matching grants for the acquisition or development of outdoor recreation areas and facilities.  This is a reimbursable grant program requiring a 50 percent match.  Only state agencies and local governments may apply. 

South Carolina has invested more than $60 million of Land & Water Conservation Funds in approximately 1,161 land acquisition and recreation facilities projects since the program began in 1965.  The LWCF program has always required that any property acquired or developed with its funds be maintained in perpetuity as an active and viable outdoor recreation venue. 

As in previous years, revitalizing existing LWCF properties will remain a topline priority; however, the 2020 round will also be open to new park projects, especially those that address capacity issues.  This determination was made based upon feedback received from local recreation providers in the 2019 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.  For a new project to qualify for funding, the local government will have to prove, during an on-site inspection, that all of their existing LWCF properties are in good shape and are being used appropriately.  If there are issues with any LWCF properties, we will request that that you apply instead for LWCF to correct those problems. 

You must meet the following eligibility criteria to apply for the 2020 round:

Eligible Applicant Criteria:

  • A local government may not apply for an LWCF grant if they have an open LWCF grant.  A State agency may not apply for a park/recreational area that has an open LWCF grant. 
  • A local government may not apply for an LWCF grant if they have any unresolved LWCF or RELT conversion issues, unless they receive written permission from SCPRT.
  • A local government may not apply for an LWCF grant if they have outstanding fiscal or compliance issues with any RTP, RELT or PARD grant.

Eligible Project Criteria:

  • The minimum grant request is $50,000 and the maximum is $300,000.  If SCPRT determines a project has statewide or regional significance, it may qualify for additional funding, up to $500,000.  PLEASE NOTE:  An applicant must receive permission from SCPRT to exceed the maximum grant amount prior to submitting an application.
  • Only one (1) application request per eligible entity is allowed and the project must be located within the entity’s legal boundaries.  State agencies are exempt from the one request limit, but may not apply for more than one project per park/recreational area. 
  • Property must be owned outright by the applicant to be eligible for grant assistance. (Previously LWCF-assisted State properties with existing 25-year or longer leases from the Federal Government or a FERC-regulated entity are exempt.)
  • New parks and existing parks not previously assisted with LWCF must meet minimum acreage requirements.  Development projects must be at least 5 or more contiguous acres, and acquisition projects must be ten (10) or more contiguous acres, unless you are acquiring acreage adjacent to an existing LWCF park.

Please contact Debbie Jordan, Alternate State Liaison Officer, at (803) 734-1658 or to confirm your existing LWCF properties and to discuss potential new projects.  To request an application for this year’s competitive cycle, please complete and mail or email a Letter of Intent form to:

Attn:  Debbie Jordan, Grants Coordinator

SC Dept. of Parks, Recreation & Tourism

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 225

Columbia, SC  29201

Letters of Intent must be received at SCPRT no later than 4:30 pm on Friday, December 20, 2019.

Letter of Intent Form for 2020 Applicants

Memo to Potential Applicants

2020 LWCF Application Guidelines

Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program

The National Park Service has opened a new funding cycle for LWCF's Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program, which provides matching grants from $300,000 to $1 million to urban areas for recreation development.

The ORLP delivers funding assistance to jurisdictions of at least 50,000 people with priority given to projects located in economically disadvantaged areas lacking in outdoor recreation opportunities. These awards help urban communities address outdoor recreation deficits by supporting projects in cities and densely populated urbanized areas that create new outdoor recreation spaces, reinvigorate existing parks, and form connections between people and the outdoors. More than $40 million is available in this funding cycle. Each state may submit up to four nominations for ORLP funding. NPS reviews and makes final award decisions.

The following urbanized areas in South Carolina are eligible to participate:
-- Anderson
-- Columbia
-- Charleston-North Charleston
-- Florence
-- Greenville
-- Hilton Head Island
-- Mauldin-Simpson
-- Myrtle Beach-Socastee
-- Rock Hill
-- Spartanburg
-- Sumter

See more at this link. Interested entities can apply for these federal funds through the SC Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism by contacting Justin Hancock, Director of Policy and Grants, at 803-734-1747 or The deadline for applications is Friday, May 29.