Funds Available for Rural Parks and Recreation in California

The California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) is accepting applications for Rural Recreation & Tourism Program (RRT) with applications due November 5, 2021. There is $23.125 million available for competitive grants.

RRT competitive grants will create new recreation features in support of economic, tourism, and health related goals. Competitive projects will improve the health of residents and attract out of town visitors.

Who is eligible to apply for the RRT?

Eligible applicants include Cities, Counties, and districts.

To qualify as rural, the project site must meet these thresholds:

  1. Be in a county with a population below 500,000 people, and, in a city/town/census designated place that has a population below 50,000 people.
  2. Be in a county with a population below 500,000 people, and, in a city/town/census designated place that has a population below 80,000 people, provided that the county below 500,000 people has adopted State planning priorities pursuant to Government Code Section 65041.1.

What projects are eligible for this program?

A project must involve either development or a combination of acquisition and development to create a new recreation feature(s). While renovation may be included, applications will be more competitive if a majority of the total project cost creates a new recreation feature(s).

All projects must create or renovate at least one recreation feature. New recreation feature(s) can be either outdoor or indoor. Examples of outdoor and indoor recreation features include but are not limited to the following:

  • Acquisition of land:
    • Combined with development of a new recreation feature; OR
    • Already has a recreation feature for public use at close of escrow. For expansions, this may include acquiring adjacent land to protect viewsheds or create new access.
  • Aquatic center, swimming pool, splash pad, fishing pier or paddling launch site
  • Amphitheater/performing arts dance, music, and theater stage
  • Regional Sports Complex
    • Athletic fields (soccer regulation or “futbol-rapido”, baseball, softball, football)
    • Athletic courts (basketball, “futsal”, tennis, pickleball, etc.)
  • Year around complexes
    • Winter recreation features: skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
    • Summer recreation features: hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, etc.
  • Visitor, interpretive, cultural, historical structures
  • Wildlife viewing structure or shade structure/COVERED PARK area
  • Non-motorized trail, Equestrian trail, bikeways, pedestrian/bicycle bridge
  • Botanical or demonstration gardens and orchards
  • Recreation center/gymnasium
  • Dog park
  • Jogging and walking loop, par course, running track
  • Gym exercise equipment (stations fixed into ground) or outdoor exercise equipment
  • Disc Golf
  • Open space and natural area for public recreation use
  • Campground (developed or primitive campsites)
  • Picnic/Bar-B-Que areas
  • Playground and tot lot
  • Plaza, zocalo, gazebo
  • Public art (mosaic tiles, sculptures, murals)
  • Skate park, skating, roller blading, or ice rink, and BMX or pump track (nonmotorized bike tracks)
  • Lighting to allow for extended nighttime use of an existing recreation feature is considered a renovation.

Examples of major support amenities include but are not limited to:

  • Restroom building, snack shack
  • Parking lot, staging area, pathway for access to a recreation feature
  • Landscaping or lighting that will be constructed throughout the project site

Applications only for major support amenities are ineligible; a project must create or renovate at least one recreation feature.

What are the funding levels for the 2021 RRT? The maximum amount of funding available per applications is $3 million with the minimum amount of $200,000.

Is there a cost-sharing/match requirement? No match the project site’s area has a median household income of $56,982 or less according to the Community FactFinder. *The grant itself may fund the entire project.

A match is requires if the project site’s area has a median household income about $56,982 according to the Community FactFinder. *If the median household income is above $56,982, the grant can fund up to 80% of the total project cost. Match is at least (no less than) 20% of the total project cost.

What is the grant duration? The grant performance period if July 1, 2020- June 30, 2025.

What is the award timeline? Applications are due November 5, 2021. Grant awards are expected to be announced in spring 2022. Eligible costs can be reimbursed as of July 1, 2020 with project completion no later than March 2025.

The application guideline can be found here.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at or call us at 530-893-4764.


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