Established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1997 and administered by VOF, the Open-Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund (PTF) provides grants for acquisitions, easements, rights of way, and other methods of protecting open space for farming, forestry, recreation, wildlife, water quality, and more. A right, privilege, or interest in real estate must be conveyed to either VOF or a local government, pursuant to Virginia’s Open-Space Lands Act, to be eligible for PTF funding. Funding for the program varies year to year.
VOF is seeking proposals for projects that provide new or expanded public access to open space, such as parks, preserves, trails, greenways, outdoor classrooms, beaches, boat launches, and more. Projects must meet protection standards under the Virginia Open-Space Lands Act. Access may be granted through fee-simple conveyance, open-space easement, right of way, lease, or other real estate interest conveyed to either VOF or a local government.
PTF Public Access Grants may be awarded to any person or organization conveying a real estate interest to VOF, or to a locality acquiring such interest, for the purpose of providing or enhancing public access to open space.
$1.075 million is available for the grant round beginning July 2021.
VOF requires the interest in real estate to include access to the property by the general public, with reasonable management policies for the safety of both visitors and the resource. The access must comply with local and state laws governing the public’s rights to access certain types of properties, such as cemeteries, waterways, public roads, etc. It must also ensure equitable access to all people. If you have any questions or concerns related to how we define access to open space, please contact us.
PTF Public Access grants may pay for any costs that are associated with the conveyance of an interest, right, or privilege in open space to VOF or a local government, including fee-simple acquisition, development rights, public access rights of way, leases, legal costs, and survey costs. Components critical for public use of the land may also be included in the grant request such as planning, designing, engineering, and infrastructure.
PTF Easement Assistance grants provide funding for landowners who donate conservation easements to VOF on farms, forests, and other open-space properties and who can demonstrate financial need. If you are thinking about protecting your land with a VOF easement and would like to learn more about easement assistance funding, please contact us.
Easement assistance grants are available to income-eligible landowners who wish to donate an open-space easement to VOF on their property. Learn more about open-space easements here.
Grant sizes are based on expected ranges for expenses, income eligibility, and overall available PTF funding. Please contact us to learn more.
PTF Easement Assistance grants may pay for any costs that are associated with the conveyance of an open-space easement to VOF including legal fees, appraisals, VOF fees, and survey costs.
VOF’s Easement Assistance grants operate on a rolling basis as funding is available. Landowners must first work with staff to determine eligibility of the landowner and the project. Click here for an overview of the easement process. Funds are released after successful recordation of the easement. Please contact us with any questions about the application process or eligibility of your project.