The LWCF State and Local Assistance Program was created by Congress in 1964 to assist in preserving, developing and assuring accessibility to present and future generations of U. S. citizens and visitors “such quality and quantity of outdoor recreation resources as may be available and are necessary
and desirable for individual active participation in such recreation and to strengthen the health and vitality of the citizens of the United States[.]" This is accomplished in part by authorizing and providing grants to states, and through states to local units of government and federally-recognized Indian tribes, for projects that will provide outdoor recreation opportunities to the public through the acquisition of lands and waters for parks and other outdoor recreation areas, as well as through the development of new, or the renovation of existing, outdoor recreation facilities.The LWCF State and Local Assistance program is operated by the National Park Service (NPS) in partnership with designated lead agencies in each of the 50 states as well as American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Congress allocates money from the LWCF for this program, which is then allocated to the states based on a legislative formula.
To be eligible for LWCF grants, states must maintain an approved Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), which must be updated at least once every five years.
Among other things, SCORPs are used to assess the supply and demand for outdoor recreation resources and set priorities for the use of LWCF funds.
In 2014, in coordination with Congress and the Secretary of the Interior, NPS created the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) Program, a competitive grant program administered under the authority of the LWCF Act.
NPS designed the ORLP with input from Congressional Committee staff, the States, and other interested parties.
As designed, the goal of the ORLP Program is to provide new or significantly improve recreation opportunities for economically-disadvantaged communities in larger urbanized areas (as designated by the Census Bureau) that are under-served in terms of parks and other outdoor recreation resources.
With Congressional support, the NPS has funded and issued grants pursuant to the ORLP each year.
ORLP grants are selected through an NPS-lead national competition following a solicitation and nomination by the States, and such grants do not count against State apportionments.