WEST CHESTER (February 1) – State Senator Andy Dinniman recently encouraged municipalities, pre-qualified land trusts, non-profit organizations and other eligible agencies to apply for state recreation and conservation grants through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Community Conservation Partnerships Program.

 

“It is important that we continue to invest in our open spaces and natural places and in making them more accessible and enjoyable for everyone,” Dinniman said. “These grants can go a long way in not only protecting our environment, but also increasing recreational opportunities for residents and families throughout the region.”

 

Applications are being accepted now through April 10, 2013. All applications must be submitted electronically. Grant information, policies and guidelines are available online at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/brc/grants/index.aspx.

 

Pre-application workshops and webinars will be held throughout the Commonwealth in February and March to assist applicants with submitting proposals. Applicants can sign up at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/Calendar , or contact Dinniman’s West Chester District Office for information and assistance at (610) 692-2112.

 

The Community Conservation Partnerships Program provides financial and technical assistance for the planning, acquisition and development of park, recreation, conservation and greenway projects.

 

Currently, the program’s specific priorities include the following:

 

  • Sustainable and green parks projects that involve the planning and development of improvements to existing park and recreational facilities that incorporate green features.

 

  • Trail development projects that close gaps in major statewide greenways and regionally significant trail systems, as well as projects that help communities become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

 

  • Land conservation projects that protect critical habitat, forested watersheds, wetlands and riparian corridors and those that expand green space in urban areas.

 

  • River implementation projects that enhance water trails and improve or expand public river access.

 

  • Projects that advance emerging trends in recreation and conservation opportunities, such as natural play areas for youth; community parks and gardens in urban areas; off-leash dog parks; and skate parks.

 

  • Establishing statewide and regional partnerships that build local, county and regional capacity to promote outdoor recreation and conservation of natural and heritage resources through plan, implementation, education and training.

 

The program also seeks applications that implement Pennsylvania’s Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (www.paoutdoorrecplan.com) and DCNR’s strategic plan (www.dcnr.state.pa.us/newsandinformation/strategicplan/index.htm).

 

The program is funded through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key 93), the Environmental Stewardship Fund (Growing Greener I) and federal funding sources.

 

In 2012, 12 projects in Chester County received more than $2.1 million in grant funds through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program.

 

Over the past 20 years the Community Conservation Partnerships Program has funded over 4,000 projects that have helped plan, acquire, and develop parks, recreation facilities, trails, and conserved critical conservation areas and watersheds; supported education and training on conservation and recreation topics; and built conservation, heritage, and recreation partnerships.