Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Trails Program

The DNREC Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Trails Program (ORPT), formerly known as the Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund (DTF), is a matching grant program assisting with public park land acquisition and outdoor recreation facility development in Delaware.

Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Trails Program

The program was established in 1986 with annual deposits from real estate transfer tax to grow the Trust. Trust-generated income is used to fund the Program.

Since 1988, when the first grants were awarded, the program has provided over $34 million in matching grant assistance to eligible local, county and state governments throughout Delaware.

Grant Eligibility and Application

Municipal and county governments, and park districts, may apply for grant funding under the Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Trails Program.

Grants may be awarded for projects such as park land acquisition, planning and design of parks or trails, and outdoor recreation facility construction.

Grants have funded a wide range or projects, including picnic tables, benches, playgrounds, lighting, maintenance and restroom facilities, skate parks, trails and bridges.

Prospective sponsors must complete a pre-application form at the start of a grant cycle. Eligible sponsors will be invited to submit full applications.

2023 Grant Program

All eligible sponsors have been provided log-in credentials and must complete this pre-application form by May 14, 2023. Eligible project sponsors will then be invited to submit full applications.

Applications received by September 15, 2023, will be reviewed by a grant review committee made up of Parks and Recreation Advisory Council members, Department of Transportation Planning staff, and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) staff.

The applications will be presented to the full Parks and Recreation Council at the quarterly meeting on November 2, 2023, with funding recommendations for the DNREC Secretary.

The DNREC Secretary will approve and execute grant agreements during the first quarter of 2024.

For more information, contact Michael Tholstrup, Outdoor Recreation Planner, at 302-739-9215.