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Nationally Competitive Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Program

A national competitive federal program that will create or reinvigorate parks and other outdoor recreation spaces in areas delineated by the Census Bureau for the 2010 Census as comprising densely settled territory that contains 50,000 or more people. The State of Wisconsin will be able to submit two applications to compete for the available funding.

Who can apply

Eligible applicants

States; political subdivisions of the state such as cities and counties; and federally recognized tribal governments representing or serving jurisdictions delineated by the Census Bureau from the 2010 Census as having populations of 50,000 or more people consisting of densely settled territory.

List of Census 2010 Urbanized Areas in Wisconsin
Appleton 216,154
Beloit 63,835
Eau Claire 102,852
Fond du Lac 54,901
Green Bay 206,520
Janesville 69,658
Kenosha 124,064
La Crosse 100,868
Madison 401,661
Milwaukee 1,376,476
Oshkosh 74,495
Racine 133,700
Sheboygan 71,313
Wausau 74,632
West Bend 68,444
Duluth, MN-WI 120,379
Minneapolis/St Paul MN-WI 2,650,890
Round Lake Beach/McHenry, Grayslake, IL-WI 290,373


Eligible projects

  1. Land Acquisition
  2. Development of outdoor recreational facilities, including active sports facilities

Ineligible projects (non-inclusive)

  1. Facilities that support semi-professional or professional athletics such as baseball stadiums or soccer arenas.
  2. Indoor facilities such as recreation centers or facilities that support primarily non-outdoor purposes like dining facilities or certain overnight accommodations (lodge/hotel).
  3. Acquisition of lands, or interest of land, that completely restricts access to specific persons (e.g. non-residents of a community).

Project Priority - Priority will be given to projects that implement the following goals:

  • Directly connects people to outdoor places in their communities.
  • Engages and empowers underserved communities and youth.
  • Provides opportunities for youth employment or job training.
  • Involves and expands public-private partnerships, particularly to provide leveraging of resource.
  • Relies on a high degree of coordination among all levels of government to improve recreation opportunities for all.
  • Must implement a goal or meet a need identified in the 2011-2016 Wisconsin Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

Special requirements

  1. All projects that are awarded funding will be subject to Section 6(f)(3) of the LWCF Act (P.L. 55-578, 16 USC 460/-8(f)) requiring that any park or other outdoor recreation area that benefits from assistance from the LWCF, whether for acquisition or development activities, must be maintained for public outdoor recreation purposes forever. This requirement is applied to the park or recreation area as a whole, regardless of the extent of the LWCF assistance in the project. Each project will have a boundary map mutually agreed to by the National Park Service (NPS), State of Wisconsin, and the project sponsor that will document the extent of the area subject to the 6(f)(3) requirement. A condition will be recorded against the deed of the assisted property acknowledge the outdoor recreation protections is in perpetuity.
  2. The following costs may not be counted towards the non-Federal matching share (non-inclusive):
    • Project costs that were incurred before the grant start date, except for certain planning and compliance costs.
    • Any funds or in-kind contributions such as land or services that have been previously used or will be used to satisfy matching requirements for this program or other Federal and State grants.
    • Any funds or in-kind contributions such as land or services that were or will be acquired with Federal funds.
    • Projects assisted may not include funds from other Federal sources.
    • Ineligible expenses: grant administrative expenses; incidental costs related to acquisition such as appraisals or title work; and operation and maintenance activities.
  3. If a project is selected, the project cost defines the maximum federal share that can be required. No cost increases may be requested at a later date.
  4. Applicant agrees to the installation of a permanent sign acknowledging the LWCF funding.


Application Deadline: July 28, 2014

Grant Cycle Process:

  • The Department will accept applications until 4:30 pm on July 28, 2014.
  • Projects will be reviewed according to criteria established by the National Park Service and the State of Wisconsin (see criteria narrative).
  • The Department will submit two projects via to NPS for consideration by August 12, 2014.
  • NPS will review and preliminary select projects based on established criteria.
  • States will be notified in early fall 2014 if a project is tentatively selected for national funding.
  • Final application material will be submitted to NPS soon after selection notification.
  • Grant contracts will be awarded with a start date between January 1 and April 1, 2015.
  • End date for all projects will be December 31, 2017


Contact information
For assistance with LWCF grants, contact:
Jennifer Gihring
Your regional DNR Stewardship contact [PDF]
Last revised: Tuesday December 19 2017