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Stewardship program logo
Apply (LUG)
for grants eligible for local units of government.
Apply (NCO)
for grants eligible for nonprofit conservation orgnaizations.
Stewardship Grant lands.
Contact information
For more information, see:
Stewardship grant contact list

Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program grantsState Trails Program

The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program is the name for a family of funds supporting natural resource protection and nature-based outdoor recreation in Wisconsin.

Some Stewardship funds are available as grants to local governments and nonprofit conservation organizations (known as LUGs and NCOs). Brief information about each subprogram is below. For detailed information about applying for any one of these grant programs, follow links below to application materials and contact grant staff in your region of the state. Stewardship grants can be grouped, generally, into two categories:

Grants to purchase land or conservation easements

Grants to purchase land or fund recreational development on public lands

State Trails Program

See section 23.175, Wis. Stats. and chapter NR 51, subch. VIII, Wis. Adm. Code

Who can apply

Who can apply

Eligible nonprofit conservation organizations (NCO) can apply for State Trail funding. Nonprofit conservation organizations must be nonprofit corporations, charitable trusts or other nonprofit associations described in Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and exempt from taxation under section 501 (a). In addition, the purpose of the organization must include the acquisition of property for conservation purposes.


Eligible projects

Eligible projects include acquisition of land or conservation easements to expand designated State Trails.


Program purpose

Applications for grants under this subprogram must be for properties identified as part of the State Trail system including designated State Water Trails. It is possible for sponsors to nominate additional trails for state trail designation. For more information about this nomination process contact regional grant staff.


Program priorities

The DNR shall give higher priority to projects that:

  • add to the nationally designated Ice Age Trail or North Country Trail;
  • provide connections between state trails and other trail systems;
  • provide connections to resource areas of statewide significance or areas of outstanding natural scenery; or
  • allow for multiple uses of the trail.

For more detailed information, including the ranking criteria used to select State Trail projects for funding and application information, see NCO application process.

Grants Awarded

Each fiscal year, $1.2 million are available for State Trails grants. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. The sponsor's share of project costs must come from non-state sources. For more information about financing Stewardship-funding acquisition, see Financing NCO acquisition projects.

How to apply

How to apply

For information on how to apply, see NCO application process.


Application deadlines

Application deadlines vary each year. Please see NCO application process for this year's deadline..
Last revised: Thursday December 11 2014