State Park and Forest Heritage Trust Fund

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

View website Save this grant
Crystal ball icon
Predicted Deadline
The next cycle for this opportunity is predicted based on past data. If you save this grant, we’ll notify you if there are any changes.

Predicted deadline: Nov 15, 2024

Grant amount: Up to US $30,000

Fields of work: Forestry Parks & Public Spaces Trail Creation & Maintenance Recreation Community Culture & Heritage Wellness & Healthy Living

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Wisconsin: Calumet County, Dodge County, Fond du Lac County, Jefferson County, Kenosha County Show all

Location of residency: Wisconsin, Counties in Wisconsin: Calumet County, Dodge County, Fond du Lac County, Jefferson County Show all


About the DNR

In keeping with our mission, the DNR is dedicated to working with Wisconsinites while preserving and enhancing the natural resources of Wisconsin. In partnership with individuals and organizations, DNR staff manage fish, wildlife, forests, parks, air and water resources while promoting a healthy, sustainable environment and a full range of outdoor opportunities.

State Park and Forest Heritage Trust Fund

The Wisconsin Legislature created the State Park and Forest Heritage Trust Fund to provide grants to Friends Groups for the maintenance and operations of state parks, southern state forests, state trails or state recreation areas. A Friends Group must have established an endowment fund for the benefit of the property. Only interest generated by the endowment fund can be used as the applicant’s match.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • To be eligible, a Friends Group must be a nonstock, nonprofit corporation described under Section 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code and exempt from taxation under section 501(a).
    • In addition, the Group must have been formed to raise funds for state parks, southern state forests, state trails or state recreation areas and have a written Friends Group agreement with the Department of Natural Resources.
  • To qualify for a grant under this program, the Friends Group must also have an endowment that was established for the benefit of a state park, southern state forest, state trail or state recreation area.
    • An endowment fund is defined in the state statues as “an endowment, trust or other segregated fund for the benefit of a specific state park, southern state forest, state trail or state recreation area.”
  • Southern state forests include those located in the following counties: Manitowoc, Calumet, Winnebago, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Ozaukee, Washington, Dodge, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Jefferson, Racine, Kenosha, Walworth, Rock and Outagamie.
  • Grants are awarded for projects that are consistent with DNR approved plans for the property.
  • Grant awards may be used for operation and maintenance expenses including materials, supplies, services; labor, salaries and fringe benefits if directly related to the grant activity; and rental or lease of equipment.
  • Friends Groups are encouraged to apply for projects that meet current statewide program objectives such and projects will be scored accordingly:
    • The support of interpretive programming; especially activities that encourage outdoor recreation-based skills and social, cultural, and historical projects as identified in the Property Interpretive Plan.
    • Increased accessibility experience throughout a property including, but not limited to: maintenance of accessible cabins, trails, ramps, maintenance and operations of accessible recreation equipment, enhanced operations of accessible recreation opportunities.
    • Development of special events, program, public information strategies to encourage health and wellness in the outdoors including those that further the mission of OutWiGo objectives and enhance the marketing of Friends Group volunteer activities throughout the year.
    • Vegetative management that occurs in “designated use” or “day-use” areas and enhances recreation-based activities in those areas as determined by the Property Manager and Bureau of Parks and Recreation Management.
      • Examples include trail brushing, invasive species management, and tree planting.
    • Basic facility operations and maintenance, especially for facilities and recreation spaces that were originally funded with the help of a Friends Group.
  • Grants will be available on an annual basis as funds are available.
    • Grants are awarded for one-half of the amount that is provided by the Friends Group (2-1 ratio).
    • A Friends Group may only use the interest from its endowment fund for its match.
    • The department may not grant more than $30,000 per year for any single property.
    • The department may advance grant funds to the successful applicant once they can show they have 100 percent of the match.


  • Priority shall be given to projects that do any of the following:
    • Provide, maintain or operate department-approved interpretive programs.
    • Provides special events, programs, public information for marketing strategies consistent with the goals of the property.
    • Provide or maintain accessibility for people with disabilities.
    • Assist in the restoration or rehabilitation of native plant communities and projects that protect or enhance species of special conservation needs.
    • Maintain or operate basic facilities already provided at the property.


  • Ineligible projects include:
    • Acquisition and development of areas and facilities that do not meet the definition of nature−based outdoor recreation.
      • “Nature-based outdoor recreation" means activities where the primary focus or purpose is the appreciation or enjoyment of nature.
        • These activities may include but are not limited to hiking, bicycling, wildlife or nature observation, camping, nature study, fishing, hunting, trapping, public shooting range, boating, picnicking, cross-country skiing, canoeing, and multi-use trail activities.
        • Eligible support facilities for these activities may include but are not limited to access roads, parking areas, utility and sanitation systems, sanitary and shelter building, signs, interpretive items, and other features that enhance nature-based outdoor recreation or improved disabled accessibility.
        • Playgrounds and playground facilities that supplement the appreciation of nature, occupy a minor portion of the grant property, and do not distract from the primary purpose of the grant project may be considered an eligible support facility.
        • Ineligible activities include but are not limited to sports that require extensively developed open space such as dedicated sports fields, swimming pools and tennis courts.
    • Construction of new facilities

Find funders like Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

See funders proven to support nonprofits like yours.

No credit card required.
instrumentl testimonial face

"Winning 30% more grants thanks to Instrumentl was a huge morale boost. My confidence continues to grow."

Linda Rucker, Grant Writer

This page was last reviewed September 18, 2023 and last updated September 18, 2023