Recreation Economy for Rural Communities 2021

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

EPA, the USDA Forest Service, and the Northern Border Regional Commission invite communities to apply for the next round of Recreation Economy for Rural Communities assistance. 

With Recreation Economy for Rural Communities assistance, a planning team will help communities bring together local residents and other stakeholders to decide on strategies and an action plan to grow the local outdoor recreation economy. Recreation Economy for Rural Communities is not a grant program.Communities will not receive funds directly from EPA. Partner communities will receive help from a planning team to consider challenges and opportunities, convene a community workshop, and develop an action plan for community revitalization through the recreation economy. 

Partner communities are encouraged to pursue activities that foster environmentally friendly community development and Main Street revitalization through the conservation and sustainable use of public or private forests or other natural resources. Examples could include:

  • Ensuring local residents, including young people, have connections and opportunities related to nearby outdoor assets to foster community pride, good stewardship, and local economic benefits.

  • Developing or expanding trail networks to attract overnight visitors and new businesses and foster use by local residents.

  • Developing in-town amenities, such as broadband service; electric vehicle charging; housing; or shops, restaurants, or breweries, to serve residents and attract new visitors and residents with an interest in nearby outdoor assets.

Read the FAQs:


Eligible applicants include local governments, Indian tribes, and nonprofit institutions and organizations representing any community in the United States.

Special consideration will be given to the following:

  • Small towns and rural communities;

  • Economically disadvantaged communities;

  • Underserved communities where the majority of residents are people of color or communities with substantial minority populations; and/or

  • Communities located in the Northern Border region of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York (visit the Northern Border Regional Commission's website for a list of counties in this region). - but communities anywhere in the U.S. are eligible to apply.