Grant opportunities available

The state of Minnesota and the federal government have several grant opportunities available to local governments related to parks, trails and recreation:

No Child Left Inside Grant Program

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced the availability of Phase 3 mini grants offered through the No Child Left Inside Grant Program. These grants help more children cast a line, study animal tracks, hike or bike, or simply learn more about nature. The grant program has several phases; phases 1 and 2 are complete.

Public entities and non-profit organizations serving youth under age 18 can apply for mini grants. A total of $200,000 is available for programs all around Minnesota. The minimum request is $500 and the maximum is $5,000. Future phases of the grant program will have larger grant awards with more extensive application and review processes.

Applications can be submitted starting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2, and awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. The application period will close once all the money is awarded. All the reimbursable grant project work must be completed by June 30, 2023.

For more information on the grant program and a link to the application, visit mndnr.gov/R3.

Noxious Weed and Invasive Plant Grants

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for grants of $500 – $5,000 to combat invasive plants. Past grants have been awarded for a range of projects including equipment and herbicide purchases, mapping and spraying noxious weeds, hiring private applicators, outreach activities, and cost share programs with private landowners. Local governments are eligible to apply, but your county agriculture inspector will need to review your application. You can learn more about the program and review the RFP here.

Federal Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Grants

The Federal American Rescue Plan includes $240 million for a grant program to assist communities and regions in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative impact on travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors. The grants are available to state and local governments to rebuild and strengthen these sectors through various infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects. Grants can range from $100,000 to $10 million. You can learn more and view the application documents here.