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FWP Will Accept Applications In February For About $235,000 In Federal Recreation Grants

Montana State Parks

Fri Sep 30 00:00:00 MDT 2005

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Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks announced that about $235,000 in 2006 federal Land & Water Conservation Fund Program funding will be available to local, public outdoor recreation projects in 2006.

Officials said cities, counties, school districts, conservation districts, Indian tribes, and other interested parties will receive a mailing with details on applying. The application deadline is Feb. 24, 2006.

"We haven't received official notification of Montana‚Äôs funding level, but based on the budget passed by the U.S. Congress, I estimate it will be about $235,000," said Walt Timmerman, chief of the recreation bureau for FWP's Montana State Parks Division, which administers the program. 

The federal Land & Water Conservation Fund Program, established in 1965, encourages a partnership between national, state and local governments to plan and fund outdoor recreation projects. Since 1965, Montana has received more than $34 million for outdoor recreational projects.

Applications for LWCF funding will be reviewed and rated by a selection committee using a standard set of criteria. Typical facilities eligible for funding include: ball fields, campgrounds, golf courses, ice-skating ponds, picnic facilities, tennis courts, playground equipment, and hiking trails.

The maximum grant per project is $75,000 and the grant may provide up to 50 percent of a local project's total costs.  A project sponsor must have total project costs committed at the time of application, as the sponsor must make full payment on all project expenses before being reimbursed for up to 50 percent of allowable costs. 

As its share of project costs, a sponsor may use an agency work-force account, cash, and in some cases, land. Volunteer services and donated material, though encouraged, cannot be used to match the grant.

Other LWCF Program requirements are:

* Project sponsors must be a city, county, school district or similar official state entity or sovereign Indian Nation within Montana.

* The sponsor must own the project site, or have control of the property under a long-term lease from the federal government.

* The sponsor must have adequate resources to operate and maintain the area after the project is complete.  The LWCF program provides no funds for routine operation and maintenance.

* The area within the park boundary must be maintained for public outdoor recreation in perpetuity.

* Applicants must include the results of a recent survey that demonstrates outdoor recreation use by local citizens.

Detailed information is available at the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks web site under the Parks and Recreation page, LWCF Local Community Grants, or call 406-444-3750.