Community Conservation Partnerships Program Grants
DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation assists local governments and recreation and conservation organizations with funding for projects related to:
Applications for DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants are accepted once a year, typically during the spring.
What Types of Projects Can Be Funded?
Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants can fund:
Planning, acquisition, and development of public parks
Motorized and non-motorized trails
River conservation and access
Conservation of open space
Community and watershed forestry
Grants also support regional and statewide partnerships that build capacity to better develop and manage resources.
Community Recreation and Conservation Planning Funding
Planning projects “lay the groundwork” for future land acquisition, development, and/or management of parks, recreational facilities, critical habitat, open space, natural areas, greenways, and river/watershed corridors. Examples include:
Master site development plan
Swimming pool complex feasibility study
Indoor recreation facility feasibility study
Comprehensive recreation, park and open space and greenway plan
Rivers conservation plan
Land conservation and stewardship plan
Park Rehabilitation and Development Funding
These projects involve the rehabilitation and development of public parks, recreation facilities, greenways, and river conservation projects. Examples include:
Land Acquisition and Conservation Funding
These projects involve the purchase and/or donation of land for:
Motorized and Non-Motorized Trail Funding
Trail projects include the acquisition, planning, development, rehabilitation, or maintenance of designated routes on land or water for motorized and non-motorized recreation activities.
This includes the purchase of equipment for trail construction or maintenance. Examples of project that can be funded include:
All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and Snowmobile Projects
All-terrain vehicle (ATV) and snowmobile projects include projects related to facilities that support the use of ATVs and/or snowmobiles.
State and Regional Partnership Funding
Partnerships projects are collaborative statewide or regional initiatives that help build local, county, regional, and statewide capacity to better develop and manage recreation and park facilities and to promote the conservation of natural and heritage resources through plan implementation, education, and training.
Funding can be provided for:
Convening, education, or training
Special purpose and planning studies
Mini-grants to develop small grant programs
Peer and Circuit Rider Funding
These grant programs fund projects that help municipalities, counties, multi-municipal partnerships, and councils of government to increase local capacity for recreation, parks, and conservation.
The Peer program funds collaborative projects that focus on a specific need identified by the grantee and its partners.
The Circuit Rider program aids in the hiring of a full-time park, recreation, or conservation professional whose services are shared by the members of a formal partnership, commission, or authority.
Rivers Conservation Grants and Community and Watershed Forestry Funding
Rivers conservation projects focus on protecting and enhancing the conservation or recreation value of Pennsylvania’s waterways.
Applications are submitted under the appropriate primary grant category.
For example, funding for a rivers conservation plan would be requested through a Community Recreation and Conservation Planning grant application; an easement or purchase to protect a headwaters area would require a Land Acquisition and Conservation grant.
Examples of rivers conservation projects that can be funded include:
Community and Watershed Forestry
The Community and Watershed Forestry Program provides financial assistance to identify locations in need of riparian forest buffers, lawn conversion, and urban tree-planting and to design, implement, and establish those practices.
This program supports projects that produce conventional buffers and multifunctional buffers -- a buffer type that provides an opportunity to harvest products such as nuts, berries, woody florals, forbs, and potentially woody biomass in addition to the conventional buffer of riparian tree and shrub species.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
Eligible applicants for Community Conservation Partnerships Program funding include:
Most programs require a minimum cash or noncash matching contribution from the applicant that is equal to 50 percent of the project cost.
Funding Sources for Grants
DCNR’s grant and technical assistance programs were created through federal and state legislative action over a number of years. Information about each of the program’s funding sources is available below.
State funding sources for the Community Conservation Partnership Program grants include:
Federal funding sources for the Community Conservation Partnership Program grants include:
Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund state assistance program, established in 1965, is a federal source of funding distributed to all states by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.
The program provides matching grants for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. DCNR administers the Land and Water Conservation Fund program for Pennsylvania:
Recreational Trails Program
Recreational Trails Program provides funds to states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.
The program is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration.
Legacy Funding Sources
The following acts represent inactive funding sources once used to provide grants for recreation and conservation projects across the commonwealth.
Although the funding is no longer available, the restrictions associated with the various acts still apply to sites that received the funding: