Local, County, and State governments are eligible for Land and Water Conservation Funds. Applicants must have management responsibilities over public lands or authorization from the land manager for the project work proposed.
The maximum grant request for Land and Water Conservation Funds is typically $200,000, however the State Recreational Trails Committee may elect to fund one or two grants in the grant cycle of up to $350,000. LWCF requires a 1:1 match, meaning the grant award must be matched 100% by the applicant. Matching funds can be a combination of both cash and in-kind contributions.
CPW Application Process
Trail grant applications are posted each year at the start of the grant application process on Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Division's website under the Trails Program section. The annual grant program is publicized through newsletters, CPW's website and email information networks. The deadline for non-motorized grant applications changes slightly each year. Typically, applications are due the first business day in November by 5:00 pm. Grant applications are accepted as submitted and are rated on their merit.
Each grant application is reviewed, scored, and ranked by a grant review subcommittee. The subcommittee is made up of State Recreational Trails Committee members, CPW staff, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) staff, and volunteer trail professionals that are appointed by the State Recreational Trails Committee.
CPW's Trail Grant Application review and ranking process follows a four-tiered review and approval protocol. All grant applications are first reviewed by CPW wildlife field biologists and regional CPW staff. This process allows CPW to flag potential wildlife issues prior to the review by the subcommittees. While concerns may be flagged during this review, CPW's field staff will attempt to resolve these concerns prior to the subcommittees review.
Applications are then evaluated by the grant review and ranking subcommittees which score and rank the trail grant applications in order of their recommended funding priority. The ranked applications are then passed to the Committee which evaluates the applications in ranked order and recommends funding strategies to the Commission. The Commission provides the final funding approval to the projects receiving LWCF grant allocations.
To solicit public comment, all grant applications are posted on the CPW Trails Program's website and every public comment is evaluated as part of a subcommittee's grant review and ranking process. This procedure invites public review and comment at four separate stages; upon submission and posting of the application, before the subcommittees, before the State Recreational Trails Committee and before the Parks and Wildlife Commission.
National Parks Service Application Process
The State of Colorado enters into an agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) for each project awarded Land and Water Conservation Funds. This application requires a Section 6(f)(3) Boundary Map, a Section 106 Review from the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), and a Tribal Consultation review that is coordinated directly by the National Park Service.
The Section 106 Review will be submitted to the SHPO by the CPW Trails Program on behalf of the grant applicant. Common requests from the SHPO are to have a Cultural Resources Inventory or a Class III Survey completed to ensure there are no historic sites or artifacts within the project boundary.
Once the CPW Trails Program has received approval from the National Park Service, an agreement between CPW and the grant applicant may then be initiated.
While the timeframe is different for each awarded project, average approval from the SHPO, the Tribal Consultation, and the National Park Service takes a minimum of three months.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund grant application can be found on CPW's website under the Non- Motorized Grant Submissions.