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:

Motorized Trails 

The next Grant Round starts on October 2, 2017 and closes December 20, 2017 4:00pm

Trail projects include the acquisition, planning, development, rehabilitation, or maintenance of designated routes on land for motorized recreation activities. This includes the purchase of equipment for trail construction or maintenance.

DCNR is currently accepting applications ONLY for ATV or snowmobile trail projects. Funding for these grants comes from the ATV Management Restricted Account and the Snowmobile Management Restricted Account as authorized by  Act 97 of 2016. The match requirement for this round of funding will be waived. However, applications that provide match funding will be given additional consideration. Note: Funding for snowmobile projects is severely limited.


 Ready-to-Go Checklist - Trail Acquisition
 Ready-to-Go Checklist - Trail Planning
 Ready-to-Go Checklist - Trail Development
 Ready-to-Go Checklist - Trail Equipment Purchase
 Ready-to-Go Checklist - Trail Educational Programs
 Trail Development Drawing Checklist
 Trail Project Guidance Documents
 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 Policies


Motorized 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 Motorized Trails:
  • Acquisition Help

    Trail Acquisition Projects involve the purchase of fee simple title or perpetual easement to real property for subsequent development of 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 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 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 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.

DCNR Riparian Forest Buffer Program 

The next Grant Round starts on October 2, 2017 and closes December 20, 2017 4:00pm

The DCNR Riparian Forest Buffer Program provides financial assistance to identify locations in need of riparian forest buffers and to design, establish, monitor, and provide short-term maintenance for those buffers. Applicants are encouraged to include the Multifunctional Buffer Concept in their proposed project.

The DCNR Riparian Forest Buffer Program provides reimbursable grants to organizations to establish riparian forest buffers. DCNR will consider a variety of forest buffer project types, including conventional riparian forest buffers and multifunctional buffers. The multifunctional buffer concept has been successfully established in many areas across the nation but is a fairly new idea for Pennsylvania. The multifunctional buffer concept was designed to appeal to a broader set of landowners, provide greater program flexibility, address long-term maintenance issues, and allow landowners to reap a modest income from their buffers. Additional specifics about the concept are provided in links below:

DCNR riparian buffer webpage: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/yourwoods/streambuffers/index.htm

Multifunctional Stream Buffer Program Summary: Click to open

  • FAQ: Click to open

  • Program Guidelines: Click to open

  • Admin Instructions and Process: Click to open

  • Eligible Applicants:Any pre-qualified individual, local government, educational organization, non-profit, or for-profit entity in Pennsylvania.

  • Eligible Activities:Landowner outreach*, buffer design*, site preparation and buffer installation, plant materials and tree shelters, and short term maintenance (approximately 3 years).
    *A maximum of 5% of the grant amount can be used for “administrative costs”, which includes project planning tasks such as landowner outreach and education, site visits, buffer design, managing procurement etc.

  • Eligible Expenses:  Click to open

  • Grant Details: Applicants must be prequalified to receive a grant. The minimum grant amount will be determined during the prequalification process. The maximum grant amount is $1,000,000 (one million dollars). Grants do not require match.

  • Project Requirements: All buffers, whether conventional Help

    A Conventional buffer refers to a vegetated area along a stream including native riparian forested trees and shrubs.

    or multifunctional Help

    Multifunctional buffers refer to a riparian forest buffer that includes both native riparian forested trees and shrubs as well as  harvested products such as berries, woody florals, biomass etc.

    , must include a minimum 15-foot-wide no-harvest zone next to the steambank of native tree and shrub species. Applicants are strongly encouraged to implement an average buffer width of at least 35 feet.

    Applicants who undertake a buffer project must be willing to enter into a landowner agreement with each participating landowner for a minimum of 25 years. The agreement will address maintenance requirements among other considerations.

    DCNR service foresters will be available to provide technical assistance and advice on communications and outreach efforts, buffer design and species selection, and maintenance practices; they can also participate in partnerships and watershed-level projects.

Peer and Circuit Rider 

The Peer & Circuit Rider grants are open year round.

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.