The sponsors of projects underwritten with LWCF grants become part of the unique national outdoor recreation legacy envisioned by the proponents of the Land and Water Conservation when it was enacted into law in 1965. LWCF has helped communities nationwide acquire nearly seven million acres of parklands, water resources and open space. LWCF has also funded the development of more than 38,000 state and local park and recreation projects in nearly every county in the nation. In Colorado, more than 1,000 projects totaling more than $61 million have funded state and local government outdoors investments statewide.
As part of this legacy, LWCF projects are subject to special requirements designed to ensure the project will endure for the benefit of present and future generations. In addition to satisfying the unique requirements of the LWCF grant approval process, LWCF grantees must commit to long term responsibilities that will sustain their project's outdoor recreation benefits well into the future.
Public Use and Fees
All areas acquired or developed with LWCF funds must be kept open to public outdoor recreational use during reasonable hours of operation. Hours of operation should be determined according to the type of facility being operated and in relation to the seasons of the year.
Reasonable limits can be placed on the type and use of areas and facilities acquired or developed with LWCF funds when such a limitation is necessary for maintenance or resource protection. For example, limitations may be placed on the number of persons using a site, or the type of user may be defined (such as non-motorized use only, for example).
Reasonable user fees may be charged by the sponsor to offset operation and maintenance costs. Sponsors may charge a higher fee to non-residents as long as the higher fee is reasonable, does not exceed twice the amount charged to residents, and the hours of operation are the same for both residents and non-residents.
All documents used to substantiate the project sponsor's financial claims, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other records pertinent to a program should be retained after the project is completed. These records will be needed to close out the project for final payment and possibly for the periodic five year inspections required for LWCF assisted projects.
In the case of a conversion, amendment, or questions regarding a project site, the process will run smoother if these documents are retained. Documents should be retained in hard copy form and should include, at a minimum, the grant application itself, project agreements, contracts and bid specifications, all invoices, cancelled checks, and correspondence regarding proposed amendments or conversions of use.
Open Project Inspections
Two on-site inspections of the project site are required; a pre-inspection and a close-out inspection. Both inspections will be performed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Trails Program staff. The pre-inspection takes place prior to work beginning on the project. The final inspection must be completed to close out the project and to authorize final payment of the LWCF grant. At the close-out inspection, the Project Records described above will be examined. Copies of invoices, cancelled checks, as built facility descriptions, acres acquired, and maps (if different from the previously submitted Section 6(f)(3) Boundary Maps) must be provided to the CPW Trails Program project inspector.
Also required by federal LWCF program rules are on-going, periodic post-completion inspections to assure that the site is being retained and used for outdoor recreation purposes in accordance with the project agreement (and/or amendments) and other applicable program requirements. Post-completion compliance inspections must be performed by CPW Trails Program staff within five years after the final billing and project close-out inspection, and at least once every five years thereafter.
At the close-out inspection, and at all subsequent periodic inspections, CPW inspectors will be making the following on-site determinations:
- For development projects, type and number of facilities built or rehabilitated.
- For acquisition projects, number of acres acquired.
- Is the development the same as that described in the project agreement?
- Is there evidence of poor workmanship or use of inferior quality materials or construction?
- Is upkeep and repair of structures and improvements adequate?
- Have all of the corrective actions described in prior inspection reports been satisfactorily completed?
- Is the property attractive and inviting to the public and is the quality of the area being maintained?
- Are there any on-site features which present health or safety problems or signs of vandalism?
- Is the area properly signed to allow for user information and safety, and proper acknowledgment of the Land and Water Conservation Fund?
- Is the property readily accessible and open to the public during reasonable hours and times of the year, with no evidence of discrimination?
- Is access to the property and facilities in compliance with ADA Accessibility guidelines and standards?
- Is there evidence that any portion of the project site has been converted to anything other than the intended use?
If project inspections reveal deficiencies in sustaining the outdoor recreation purposes for which the project was funded, a corrective action notice may be issued to the project sponsor by the CPW Trails Program. Compliance with the corrective action will be examined in future inspections. If the project remains out of compliance, CPW reserves the right to make the project sponsors ineligible for future LWCF grants.
If the deficiency has a significant impact on the project's intended public outdoor recreation benefit, or if the project sponsor desires to change the use or scope of the project, a Change of Use approval will be required. For additional information on the change of use approval process, see LWCF Change of Use, Obsolete Facilities, and Conversions page.