Interior Department Commits $58.3 Million in Grants for Park and Recreation Projects in Communities Lacking Parks

The Department of the Interior announced the selection of 14 projects in 11 states to receive $58.3 million through the National Park Service’s Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP). 

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the funding during a visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she met with local and state officials and outdoor recreation stakeholders to highlight the importance of increasing equitable access to the outdoors. The city of San Francisco is receiving more than $8 million from this year’s ORLP funding to revitalize park blocks that offer various outdoor recreation amenities to the public. 

The ORLP program, funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, provides grants to communities for locally led park projects in underserved communities, particularly in economically disadvantaged communities with little to no access to outdoor recreation opportunities. These funds can be used for the acquisition and/or development of, or to substantially renovate public parks and other outdoor recreation spaces. 

“I’ve seen firsthand the benefits that come with connecting with nature. Access to the outdoors provides children and families opportunities to learn about our world, live healthier lives and recreate,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program, the Department of the Interior is making historic investments in communities across America to ensure that someone’s background or zip is not a barrier to the benefits of green spaces.” 

“Every community should have access to outdoor recreation and community parks,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “The National Park Service is honored with protecting parks big and small, near and far including by helping invest in locally led close to home recreation and park spaces.” 

Last month, the Department launched new nationwide tour to hear directly from local stakeholders on the need to connect communities with access to the outdoors and encourage state participation in the ORLP program. The program helps advance President Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative, a locally led, voluntary conservation and restoration effort that aims to address the nature and climate crises, improve equitable access to the outdoors, and strengthen the economy. Providing safe outdoor spaces for communities that are park-deprived is one of six areas of focus. The ORLP program also helps advance the Administration's Justice 40 initiative which aims to have 40 percent of the benefits of federal funding flow to disadvantaged communities. Managed by the NPS and funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the nationally competitive program provides matching grants (up to 50% of total project costs) to assist economically disadvantaged communities with limited access to community parks.