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.)

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.  

The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the fifth funding cycle for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP) was released by the National Park Service on May 10, 2021. Over $125 million is available this funding cycle. ORLP is an LWCF matching grants program with federal funding assistance between  $300,000 to $5,000,000 available to only "urbanized areas." The list below are the urbanized areas of South Carolina eligible to participate in ORLP. Projects should directly benefit low income neighborhoods, be designed through engagement with residents of these neighborhoods to ensure the project will meet their recreation needs and interests, and ideally help provide economic benefits to the community, such as through short and long-term job creation.

State LWCF lead agencies may request grants on behalf of the state or eligible local jurisdictions. If the project sponsor is a state agency or county, the project must serve an eligible city of 50,000 or more people that is within a designated urbanized area. Interested applicants should contact Justin Hancock at 803-734-1747 or The deadline for submission of an application to SCPRT is August 2, 2021. NPS reviews and makes final award decisions for ORLP.

Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP): Established by Congress in 2014 and administered through the National Park Service, the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program is funded through the LWCF State and Local Assistance Program. ORLP is a nationally competitive grant program that delivers funding to urban areas – jurisdictions of at least 50,000 people – with priority given to projects located in economically disadvantaged areas and 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. Over $16 million in ORLP grants have been awarded to 30 communities hoping to improve close-to-home access to the outdoors.