If an LWCF project sponsor desires to significantly change the use or scope of an existing project, a Change of Use approval by the National Park Service (NPS) will be required.
NPS approval is not necessarily required for each and every use change. Relatively minor changes that do not significantly alter the recreation experiences at a particular site may not require NPS approval but still need to be submitted to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Trails Program for review, approval, and recorded in the LWCF file. NPS must review significant changes of use, including changes resulting from obsolescence, in advance of their occurrence.
Project sponsors contemplating changes to their project are advised to contact CPW LWCF program staff for guidance prior to making the change. See LWCF CONTACTS page for LWCF Program staff contact information.
Change of Use Review Process:
To initiate the review process for proposed changes of use, the project sponsor must first contact the CPW LWCF Program staff. The Program then has two options:
- If the proposed change will clearly have minimal impacts on the project's intended uses, CPW can notify the project sponsor that the change is permissible.
- If the proposed change may or will have significant impacts on the intended recreational uses of the project, CPW must request NPS review.
NPS' focus will be whether the proposed change is consistent with the priorities described in Colorado's current Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). Proposed changes that do not provide for public outdoor recreation use shall constitute a conversion. Conversions require NPS approval and the substitution of replacement land and/or facilities in accordance with Section 6(f)(3) of the LWCF Act.
Project sponsors are required to maintain their LWCF-funded properties in some form of outdoor recreation use in perpetuity. However, they are not required to continue operation of a particular recreation amenity beyond its useful life. If the facility is declared obsolete, the project sponsor is not obligated to replace it. If CPW determines that the facility is needed to satisfy the intent of the project agreement but has been lost through neglect or inadequate maintenance, then the sponsor may be required to replace the facility with one that is at least equivalent to the current value of the original investment. NPS must approve determinations of obsolescence.
Conversions of Use:
A conversion in use happens when any portion of an LWCF-funded site, no matter how small, is dedicated to a purpose other than the intended outdoor recreation use per the project agreement. Such conversions must be approved by the NPS pursuant to the terms of Section 6(f)(3) of the LWCF Act.
Regardless of the reasons for an LWCF conversion, the project sponsor must mitigate the loss of the property through substitution of other properties that are equal in acreage and value. Conversions must meet a complex set of requirements.
Pre-requisites for a Conversion:
- All practical alternatives to the proposed conversion have been evaluated
- The fair market value of the property to be converted has been established and the property proposed for substitution is of at least equal fair market value (Federal yellow book appraisal standard)
- The property proposed for replacement is of reasonably equivalent usefulness and location as that being converted
- The property proposed for replacement must be evaluated to determine if it will meet similar recreation needs similar to the converted property
- All necessary coordination with other federal agencies has been satisfactorily accomplished including, for example, compliance with Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966.
- The proposed conversion and proposed replacement property are in accord with the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)
Project sponsors are strongly encouraged to contact CPW LWCF Program staff to consider the implications of a conversion BEFORE the use of the property is changed.
See the following document for a detailed description of the LWCF Change of Use Process.