Welcome to DCNR Grants

The DCNR Bureau of Recreation and Conservation (BRC) builds connections between the citizens and the outdoors through recreation enhancement, natural resources conservation and community revitalization efforts. Learn more...

The Grant Process:

  1. Log in / Create an account
    Please log in or create a new account.
  2. Start an application for a grant

  3. Finish your application

  4. Relax while we process your grant

Grant Opportunities

To start a new application, please select a grant category below:

Land Acquisition and Conservation 

These projects involve the purchase and/or donation of land for park and recreation areas, greenways, critical habitat areas and/or open space.

 Ready-to-Go Checklist
 Sample Timeline
 Grant Instructions & Guidance Documents
 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 Policies
 Eligible and Ineligible Project Activities / Costs Policy
 DCNR e-Library

Acquisition Pre-application Tasks:

  1.  Contact Regional Advisor
  2. Obtain an  SAP Vendor Number and a  DUNS Number.
  3. Collect County/Municipal Notification Letters
  4. Secure Match: If cash match from sources other than applicant, commitment letters provided from those providing match
  5. Secure Match; if land donation is part of the match, provide an appraisal report and a completed Public Value & Use Form
  6. Create a realistic, accurate, and detailed cost estimate / budget.
     Acquisition Eligible and Ineligible Grant Project Activities/Costs/Match
  7. Obtain an appraisal report and use the  USPAP Appraisal Requirements Document for the project property to be acquired.  Appraisal Policy
  8. Provide tax map
  9. Waiver of Retroactivity, formal written request to DCNR – Central Office and has contacted appropriate staff person.  Waiver for Retroactivity Policy

Project Types for Acquisition:
  • Open Space Help

    Land utilized for natural landscapes containing minimal or no structures for purpose of maintaining undeveloped space.

  • Critical Habitat Help

    Natural habitat or landscapes primarily utilized for the protection of rare or endangered species.

  • Recreation Help
    Human physical non-work activity on an organized or non-organized basis.

Acquisition Project Related Policies

Park Rehabilitation and Development 

These projects involve the rehabilitation and development of public parks, recreation facilities, greenways and river conservation projects.

 Ready-to-Go Checklist
 Sample Timeline
 Grant Instructions & Guidance Documents
 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 Policies
 Eligible and Ineligible Project Activities / Costs Policy
 Development Forms and Guidance Documents
 DCNR e-Library

Development Pre-application Tasks:
  1. We strongly suggest that you review the links provided above prior to beginning your application.
  2.  Contact Regional Advisor
  3. Obtain an  SAP Vendor Number and a  DUNS Number.
  4. Collect County/Municipal Notification Letters Help
    DCNR requires applicants to notify the county planning agency and municipalities where your project is located. You are not required to submit letters of support from these entities or letters recognizing the project. If you have them, they may be helpful so it is suggested that you attach them.
  5. Secure Match; Help
    Match is required for all development projects and is usually equal to the grant funds awarded except for Small Community projects. The local match may be eligible cash, non-cash or a land donation value.
    if match from sources other than applicant, commitment letters provided from those providing match
  6. Secure Match; if land donation is part of the match, provide a full self-contained appraisal report and a completed Public Value & Use Form
  7. Create a realistic, accurate, and detailed cost estimate / budget Help
  8. Obtain a  Site Development Drawing and/or plan(s) provided by a licensed professional such as a landscape architect, architect, or engineer
  9. Verify ownership and/or control of the project site to be developed
  10. Review related policies Help

Project Types for Development:
  • Park Rehabilitation and Development (PRD) Help
    Park Rehabilitation and Development (PRD): These projects involve the rehabilitation and development of public indoor and/or outdoor park, recreation and conservation areas and facilities. All construction must be completed in accordance with the applicable federal, state and local laws, including the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) and the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
  • Small Community Development (SC) Help
    • Municipality with a population of 5,000 or less
    • Maximum total project cost of $60,000; At least $17,000 of material costs within the project
    • Maximum grant amount of $40,000 (initial $20,000 requires no match) with any additional funds up to $20,000 matched dollar for dollar by the municipality)
    • Priority project focus under this funding type is playground rehabilitation designed to bring play areas into compliance with current playground standards and ADA accessibility.
    For more details on the program, please review the program guidelines at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/d_001288.pdf

Community Recreation and Conservation Planning 

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.

 Ready-to-Go Checklist
 Sample Timeline
 Grant Instructions & Guidance Documents
 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 Policies
 Eligible and Ineligible Project Activities / Costs Policy
 DCNR e-Library

Planning Pre-application Tasks:
  1.  Contact Regional Advisor
  2. Obtain an  SAP Vendor Number and a  DUNS Number.
  3. Collect County/Municipal Notification Letters
  4. For River Conservation Plan (RCP) – collect letter of support from more than 50% of municipalities
  5. Match secured; if match from sources other than applicant, commitment letters provided from those providing match
  6. Obtain a detailed cost estimate from at least one qualified consultant
  7. For Master Site Development Plan and facility rehabilitation Feasibility Study – applicant owns project site or controls through a 25 year lease
  8. For Master Site Development Plan or Feasibility Study of an undeveloped site – PNDI review completed

Project Types for Planning:
  • Master Site Development Plans Help
    Master Site Development Plans are site-specific studies that include, site information and analysis, and analysis of activities, facilities, maintenance, and operations. These studies lead to completion of a site development drawing in conformance with current design standards and cost estimates for the full development or redevelopment of a park or other recreational-use site.
  • Swimming Pool Complex Feasibility Studies Help
    Swimming Pool Complex Feasibility Studies are professionally prepared studies to determine community support, market characteristics, physical/structural assessment and the legal and financial capability to acquire, develop or rehabilitate, manage and sustain a swimming pool complex. A swimming pool complex includes the pool, bath house, concession, parking, and other site amenities.
    Note: Completion of a Swimming Pool Complex Feasibility Study is required for submission of a Community Partnerships development grant application.
  • Indoor Recreation Facility Feasibility Studies Help
    Indoor Recreation Facility Feasibility Studies are professionally prepared studies to determine community support, market characteristics, physical/structural assessment and the legal and financial capability to acquire, develop or rehabilitate, manage and sustain an indoor recreation facility. Examples include a community recreation center, vacant school building, indoor swimming pool, gym, indoor sports complex or indoor ice rink.
    Note: Completion of a Recreation Facility Feasibility Study is required for submission of a Community Partnerships development grant application.
  • Comprehensive Recreation, Park and Open Space and Greenway Plans Help
    Comprehensive Recreation, Park and Open Space and Greenway Plans are municipal, county or regional based plans that identify the methods, resources, organizational capacity and capital investment needed to accomplish both short term and long-term recreation, open space and greenway goals of the community. The planning process includes substantial citizen involvement, inventory of existing conditions and facilities, analysis of issues and community needs, and specific recommendations that set forth actions, priorities and cost. Funding of multi-municipal plans is a higher priority for the Department than such plans for a single municipality.
  • Network Greenways, Trails, and Open Space Plans Help
    Network Greenways, Trails, and Open Space Plans are municipal, or regional based plans that identify a greenway/trail network, highlight opportunities for connections beyond the study area’s borders, and provide a context for more local and detailed greenway trail/planning. The planning process includes inventory, mapping and analysis of existing and proposed corridors and hubs that influence the development of linear greenways/trail corridors. An action plan is developed that includes specific steps on how to create the network that includes priorities, responsibilities and proposed costs.
  • Land Conservation and Stewardship Plans Help

    Land Conservation and Stewardship Plans consist of inventory, analysis and recommendations to establish acquisition priorities and/or a long-term management plan for the preservation and environmental protection of specific natural areas or important environmental aspects of specific regions. These studies usually entail substantial research conducted by experts in critical habitat identification and assessment and substantial mapping of sensitive environmental and important habitat areas.

  • Combination Projects Help

    Combination Projects are a combination of compatible eligible planning project types. Common examples are: Swimming Pool Feasibility Study combined with a Master Site Development Plan on the same site; Comprehensive Recreation, Park, Open Space and Greenway Plan including Site Development Drawings.
    Note: Applicants must review combination projects with the appropriate Regional Advisor prior to submitting a grant application


State and Regional Partnerships 

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.

 Ready-to-Go Checklist
 Grant Instructions & Guidance Documents
 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 Policies
 Eligible and Ineligible Project Activities / Costs Policy
 Partnerships Projects Details
 Partnership Grant Administrative Instructions
 Partnerships Forms and Guidance Documents
 DCNR e-Library

Partnerships Pre-application Tasks:
  1. Read the grant program requirements, instructions, and guidance documents.
  2. Conduct an evaluation of your organization’s guiding documents (strategic plan, annual work plan, management action plan, interpretive plan, etc.) to determine the specific project(s), work tasks, outputs, and outcomes you would like to accomplish with grant funding.
  3.  Contact your Bureau of Recreation and Conservation Regional Liaison to discuss your ideas.
  4. Obtain an  SAP Vendor Number and a  DUNS Number.
  5. Secure match and gain commitment letters from those providing match.
  6. Calculate billable hourly rates for each position within your organization that will contribute to satisfying the project scope of work.
  7. Have your governing body pass the grant resolution.
  8. Establish a time-line to submit your application well before the deadline.

Project Types for Partnerships:
  • Convening, Education, or Training Help

    Projects that develop, promote, and/or conduct training or education programs; prepare and distribute technical assistance or educational materials, brochures or videos and/or otherwise provide for the training and education of professionals and/or the general public on a local, county, regional or statewide basis. These projects address issues related to plan implementation, capacity building, training or education programs related to natural resource and community conservation, land and open space preservation, greenways, trails and recreation and parks.

    Example of these types of projects include: Advancing awareness of rivers, greenways, trails, recreation and/or conservation issues through educational conferences, workshops, materials, publications, sojourns and websites.

  • Special Purpose and Planning Studies Help

    Special Purpose Planning is a comprehensive planning process that will define a long-range (5-10 year) plan of action to organize, implement, manage and market natural resource and community conservation, heritage resources, land and open space preservation, greenways, trails, recreation and parks, or cultural preservation.

    Special Purpose Study is a more concentrated study or plan necessary to implement one or more of the recommendations of a previously completed planning study. These projects will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

    The Bureau requires that project consultants are selected using a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process.

    Examples of special purpose studies would be management action plans, economic assessments, marketing plans, specialized inventories, preservation and interpretive plans, as well as, special feasibility studies.

  • Implementation Projects Help

    Implementation Projects are non-planning projects that implement recommendations of previously completed special purpose plans or studies. Examples of implementation projects include the construction of interpretive/educational exhibits, programs, signage and materials, as well as, promotional/marketing products.

    The Bureau requires an open and competitive process for the award of all sub-contracts.

  • Mini-Grants Help

    Statewide and regional partners may request mini-grant funding to develop small grant programs that will implement multiple projects through their local partners. These projects should advance priorities identified through previous completed plans. The request can include a combination of project types eligible for funding under the Statewide and Regional category.

    A 50/50 match requirement applies to all projects funded.


Trails 

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.

 Ready-to-Go Checklist - Trail Acquisition
 Ready-to-Go Checklist - Trail Planning
 Ready-to-Go Checklist - Trail Development
 Trail Development Drawing Checklist
 Grant Instructions & Guidance Documents
 Trail Project Guidance Documents
 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 Policies
 DCNR e-Library
 Trail Project Narrative Instructions


Trails Pre-application Tasks:

  1.  Contact Regional Advisor
  2. Obtain an  SAP Vendor Number and a  DUNS Number.
  3. Obtain items outlined on Ready-To-Go Checklist for specific trail project type.
  4. For trail projects that involve land acquisition or land donation, obtain an appraisal report and use the  USPAP Appraisal Requirements Document for the project property to be acquired.  Appraisal Policy
  5. Waiver of Retroactivity, formal written request to DCNR – Central Office and has contacted appropriate staff person.  Waiver for Retroactivity Policy

Project Types for Trails:
  • Acquisition Help

    Trail Acquisition Projects involve the purchase of fee simple title or perpetual easement to real property for subsequent development of motorized and non-motorized trails and trail-related facilities.

  • Planning Help

    Trail Planning Projects examine the feasibility of developing land and water trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and non-motorized recreational activities as well as provide an action plan to make the trail a reality.

  • Development, Rehabilitation, or Maintenance Help

    Trail Development Projects involve new construction, rehabilitation and/or maintenance of existing land and water trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and non-motorized recreational activities.

  • Equipment Purchase Help

    Equipment Purchase Projects involve the purchase or lease of equipment to be used exclusively for the maintenance or construction of land and water trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and non-motorized recreational activities.

  • Educational Programs Help
    Educational Program Projects involve the development and operation of educational programs that promote safety and environmental protection as those objective related to the use of recreational trails.

Peer and Circuit Rider 

These grant programs fund projects that help municipalities, counties, multi-municipal partnerships, and council of governments to increase local capacity for recreation, parks and conservation. The Peer program funds projects that, through a collaborative process, focus on a specific need identified by the grantee and its partners. The Circuit Rider program aides 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.

 Ready-to-Go Checklist
 Grant Instructions & Guidance Documents
 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 Policies
 Eligible and Ineligible Project Activities / Costs Policy
 Partnerships Projects Details
 Partnership Grant Administrative Instructions
 Partnerships Forms and Guidance Documents

Peer & Circuit Rider Pre-application Tasks:
  1. Contact Mike Piaskowski before you begin your application (Phone: 717-772-9175 / Email: mpiaskowsk@pa.gov).
  2. Read the grant program requirements, instructions, and guidance documents.
  3. Conduct an evaluation of your organization’s guiding documents (strategic plan, annual work plan, management action plan, interpretive plan, etc.) to determine the specific project(s), work tasks, outputs, and outcomes you would like to accomplish with grant funding.
  4.  Contact your Bureau of Recreation and Conservation Regional Liaison to discuss your ideas.
  5. Obtain an  SAP Vendor Number and a  DUNS Number.
  6. Secure match and gain commitment letters from those providing match.
  7. Calculate billable hourly rates for each position within your organization that will contribute to satisfying the project scope of work.
  8. Have your governing body pass the grant resolution.
  9. Establish a time-line to submit your application well before the deadline.

Project Types:
  • Peer Help

    This program funds projects that help municipalities improve their park, recreation and conservation services through a collaborative process. Projects are accomplished through contracts with experienced park, recreation and conservation professionals from nearby communities who will work closely with local leaders.


    Peer grants are awarded to help municipalities improve their park, recreation and conservation services through a collaborative process. Projects are accomplished through contracts with experienced park, recreation and conservation professionals from nearby communities who will work closely with local leaders. Examples may include projects that form new intergovernmental recreation and park agencies (which is a high priority for DCNR); improving management of a specific facility like a community center, trail or pool; conducting an overall management assessment of an agency’s park and recreation services; park and recreation board training and development, etc.

  • Circuit Rider Help

    This program funds projects for county(ies), multi-municipal entities and/or Council of Governments to hire a professional, full-time staff person.


    The Circuit Rider grants are awarded to initiate new programs and services for county(ies), Council of Governments and/or multi-municipal entities, that individually do not have the financial resources to hire a professional full-time staff person. The Circuit Rider’s purpose is to initiate new programs and services in the designated service area. The intended result of this project is to increase the ability of grantee to more efficiently and effectively meet their recreation, park, greenway, open space and/or natural resource conservation needs. The grantee will be responsible for the long-term financial commitment and maintenance of this professional position.