Outdoor Education and Recreation Grant Program
In 2019, a Nevada State Assemblyman advanced AB 331 a bill to complement the creation of the State Office of Outdoor Recreation, which was unanimously approved. The bill creates the Outdoor Education and Recreation Grant Program and designates the Division of State Parks in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to manage the program. Because the Division of State Parks had not been notified of their role prior to introduction of the bill, they negotiated through the appropriations process for funding an additional staff position to manage the program, which had not been included in the initial bill.
Aside from funding for this full-time staff position, the grant program is unfunded. The role of the staff person is to pursue potential funding sources, to conduct state-level needs assessment for outdoor learning and recreation, and to conduct outreach to potential grant recipients about the program. The program staff hopes to assemble pilot program funding from the Division of Parks budget, demonstrate program impact, then approach the State Assembly with a funding request during the next biennium in 2021.
In advance of funding availability, the program structure has been defined, being split into three tiers. Tier 1 covers microgrants under $5000 for transportation needs and professional development for teachers, Tier 2 is for broad support for outdoor education and recreation without a firm dollar cap, while TIer 3 is oriented towards workforce development, with support for programs such as Americorps or juvenile justice rehabilitation programs. The fund will be divided with 20% for Tier 1, 50% for Tier 2, and 30% for Tier 3, with the first available funding directed towards Tier 1. Tiers 2 and 3 are intended to be funded solely by fund interest, while Tier 1 funds will be held separately and can be spent down.