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Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 established a federal reimbursement program for the acquisition and/or development of public outdoor recreation areas. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is administered in Virginia by the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) for the National Park Service. The program represents a federal, state and local partnership. A key feature of the program is that all LWCF assisted areas must be maintained and opened, in perpetuity, as public outdoor recreation areas. This requirement ensures their use for future generations.

Since the LWCF began 45 years ago, Virginia has received more than $76 million in assistance. It has made more than 400 projects possible.

The LWCF is a 50-50 percent matching reimbursement program. The grant recipient must be able to fund 100 percent of the project while seeking periodic reimbursements.

Eligible recipients

  • Counties, cities and towns
  • Park and recreation authorities
  • Tribal governments
  • State agencies

LWCF is very competitive. Requests typically run more than five times the funding available.

Proposal Evaluation Process

Proposals are evaluated on:

  • Consistency with the Virginia Outdoors Plan, the official statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plan.
  • Technical merits.
  • Project readiness.
  • Environmental stewardship.
  • Previous recreational program grant performance (LWCF, Recreational Trails Program, and/or Recreational Access Roads).

Proposals are evaluated based upon defined scoring criteria. The highest ranking proposals will undergo a pre-approval site inspection. Projects that are ready to be submitted to the National Park Service (NPS) for approval will be given funding preference. Projects considered ready for submission to the NPS are those that have completed the necessary environmental review process, have construction plans, have permits issued, have completed a public commenting period and/or have current appraisal to federal standards.

Requirements and Guidance