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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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Land and Water Conservation Fund
Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP)
Grant Opportunity

Land and Water Conservation Fund

The National Park Service (NPS) announced on May 10, 2021 that, NPS is accepting pre-applications for outdoor recreation grants through the Land and Water Conservation Program's Outdoor Recreation Legacy Program (ORLP). All ORLP pre-applications must be submitted by the State on behalf of qualifying jurisdictions.

ORLP Pre-Applications are due by 5pm on August 6, 2021 to

OLRP Funding Available:

There is $150 million in ORLP grant funding available nationally. There is a minimum grant request limit of $300,000 and a maximum grant request ceiling of $5 million.

Match Requirement:

ORLP awards are 50% matching grants.

Eligible Applicants:

OLRP applicants may be municipalities, counties or Federally recognized tribes.

ORLP funding is for the development of outdoor recreational facilities and land acquisition projects exclusively in designated urbanized areas (defined as a jurisdiction with more than 50,000 people per the 2010 census) and distressed communities (documented as economically disadvantaged and/or underserved by adequate parkland.) A reference map depicting the 2010 Urbanized Areas and Urban Clusters within New Jersey can be found here.

A list of the Urbanized Areas and Urbanized Clusters was published in the Federal Register on March 27, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 18652-18669). The Census Bureau has published maps delineating each urbanized area, which can be found at (See the attached map of New Jersey.)

Economically disadvantaged populations are defined as those with poverty rates of at least 20% and/or where the poverty rate exceeds the county and state rates by at least 10%. Applicants will be required to provide statistics showing where the local community falls within the poverty scale. Underserved park communities are those:

  • with no existing parks,
  • with some parks but not enough to support the size of the population or meet the community's existing recreational demand; or
  • with some existing parks but those parks are so deteriorated/obsolete or underdeveloped that a major redevelopment or rehabilitation is necessary to serve the community that ultimately, the project is equivalent to the creation of a new park.
Applicants will be required to affirm their eligibility under the NPS definition of an urban area or urbanized cluster.

Grant Timelines:

ORLP is a nationally competitive grant program. States submit pre-applications on behalf of eligible communities. NJDEP will require completed OLRP pre-applications for NPS pre-screening by August 6, 2021. NJDEP will seek NPS prescreening approval and, if NPS staff approves the concept proposal, NJDEP must submit the final pre-application to NPS through by the Federal deadline of September 24, 2021.

NPS anticipates pre-application selection decisions by its national review panel by April 1, 2022. Only those ORLP applicants chosen by the panel will be directed to prepare a full ORLP grant application to ultimately obtain ORLP funding. Final ORLP grant award approvals are tentatively expected on October 1, 2022. All proposed project timelines should use October 1, 2022 as a start date.

Projects actively underway or that will begin before the official notice of award in October of 2022 are not eligible. Some preliminary costs such as design, architecture and engineering may be reimbursable upon the award of OLRP funding, but costs charged in advance of an official award are done at the applicant's own risk.

Full details on the ORLP grant requirements and award details can be found in the NPS Notice of Funding Opportunity announcement/P21AS00509.

How to Apply for ORLP:

ORLP applicants should provide the following documents by August 6, 2021 to the State to seek NPS pre-screening approval for their project:

  • project narrative (10-page max)
  • budget narrative (5-page max)
  • project timeline (1-page max)
  • present condition photos & pre-application inspection form
  • recreation area map
  • map (or aerial photo) delineating project area and proposed boundary
  • plan or sketch of planned site features/improvements
  • letter(s) of support - confirming matching contributions or co-sponsor ownership arrangements
Additional ORLP applicant resources and forms can be found by clicking on the document names below.

NJDEP has prepared a New Jersey 2021 ORLP guidance document that outlines exactly what is required for the State to advance a competitive pre-application for NPS consideration in the 2021 round. NPS has shared sample forms and a checklist.

To cultivate the best pre-applications for national competition, preliminary project discussions are encouraged. Questions about the ORLP funding round and pre-application development can be directed to Courtney Wald-Wittkop at or 609-775-8012.

Useful links for communities considering ORLP funding:

ORLP Federal Opportunity details -
LWCF Manual link -
Link to LWCF website -
Link to NJ SCORP -
Link to NJDEP's EJ/Overburdened community website -

Important ORLP Dates:

Pre-Applications due to NJDEP from applicants: 8/6/2021
Pre-Applications due to NPS from NJDEP: 9/24/2021
Pre-Application Selection Decisions Expected from NPS: 4/1/2022
FY 2021 ORLP Grant Award/Project Start Date: 10/1/2022 (tentative)

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Last Updated: June 15, 2021