Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans – Getting a Project Grant

LWCF Report

SCORP

The title is a mouth full, but Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans (SCORP) are a critical component in getting you the outdoor recreation opportunities you enjoy so much.  All of the states have a SCORP and update them every five years.  The driver behind the SCORP is funding for recreation projects through the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  Here’s how it works.

Developing a SCORP

Typically a state recreation agency will work with citizens and recreation interests to address the demand for and supply of recreation resources (local, state and federal) within a state.  Then, those working on the SCORP identify needs and opportunities for recreation improvements and develop an implementation program to meet the goals identified by the state’s citizens and elected leaders.  This involves projects or more typically a framework that will lead to specific projects that will supply recreation needs for the citizens of the state.

Each SCORP must be approved by the National Park Service before the state can receive project funding (that’s the financial incentive).  Usually each state will have a given amount of dollars from the LWCF to work with.  The funds appropriated by Congress (if any – contact your Senators and Representative if you think this kind of expenditure is good for America) are split among the states using a formula that is heavily weighted toward the population of the state.  States with more people get more dollars.  But they can’t spend the money just yet.

Next,  each state must develop a process that identifies the kinds of projects for which funding will be available and a process for selecting the best of the projects submitted for funding.  Then project proponents can submit their projects.

Using the established process,  each state identifies the best projects to receive funding, up to the available funds, and submits those to the National Park Service.  The Park Service approves the projects and obligates funding.  The state then works with the project proponents to make the projects happen.

Developing Your Project

If you have a project idea, here is what we recommend you do:

  1. Find copy of your state’s SCORP (Google, for example “Oregon SCORP”.  You may have to do a little more digging because you want to find the current SCORP).  Note the state agency where you found the SCORP.
  2. Study the SCORP to see how your project idea can fit with the ideas embodied in the SCORP.
  3. Be sure that you or the group you represent are eligible for funding in your state.  If not, don’t despair, you can collaborate with an eligible entity, like your city or recreation district and develop your proposal under their auspices.
  4. Contact the state recreation agency to find out local application deadlines, state priorities and selection criteria, and what kinds of documentation are required to justify a grant award. Call or write the appropriate state agency to request the application information.
  5. Develop your proposal as required by your state – exactly!  Be sure your cost estimates are good; don’t expect to get additional funding if you under-estimated.
  6. Submit your proposal before the deadline.

All this sounds like a lot of work,  but the work doesn’t really start until your project is selected and your organization receives a grant.  Then,  not only do you need to make the project happen, you need to work with the state to be sure you submit all necessary reports, invoices and whatever else may be required.

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