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. This year there will be a focus on accessibility and inclusive design.

Prospective sponsors must complete a pre-application form at the start of a grant cycle, however a commitment is not required at this stage. Eligible sponsors will be invited to submit full applications.

2024 Grant Program

The 2024 grant cycle is closed to new pre-applications. All projects have been submitted for review and eligible project sponsors will be invited to submit full applications.

Applications from eligible project sponsors that are received by Sept. 15, 2024, 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 at the November meeting of the Parks and Recreation Council for funding recommendations which will go to the DNREC Secretary.

The DNREC Secretary will approve and execute grant agreements during the first quarter of 2025.

For more information, contact Michael Tholstrup, Planning Manager, at 302-739-9215.