National Forest Foundation

Ski Conservation Fund and Forest Stewardship Fund

Supporting Places You Play

The National Forest Foundation Ski Conservation Fund (SCF) and Forest Stewardship Fund (FSF) provide funding for action-oriented on-the-ground or citizen-based monitoring projects that improve forest health and outdoor experiences on National Forests and Grasslands. Award funds come from guest contributions at ski areas and lodges operating on or adjacent to National Forest System lands, with added National Forest Foundation federal funds for SCF.

On-the-Ground Projects

SCF and FSF support the implementation of on-the-ground conservation and restoration projects that have an immediate, quantifiable impact on the National Forest System. These projects provide a lasting impact to the lands, waters, and wildlife of the National Forest System through the alteration of the physical environment.

Program Areas

The current NFF strategic plan focuses on the Program Areas of Outdoor Experiences and Forest Health. Organizations may self-select into one of the Program Areas defined below, or choose to submit a proposal that cohesively integrates the two Program Areas. Projects that strongly integrate the program areas are highly encouraged. The NFF does not have funding targets for the Program Areas, and strongly encourages applicants to integrate the programs areas cohesively in their proposals.

The NFF supports results-oriented, on-the-ground, projects that improve the quality, condition, and care of Outdoor Experiences on National Forests by:

  • Improving, or maintaining recreation resource connectivity including, and similar to: trail maintenance, bridge and crossing construction or repair, and installation of trail drainage structures; and/or
  • Engaging youth, volunteers, or diverse, underserved or under-engaged populations in hands-on stewardship activities; and/or
  • Employing youth and/or veterans crews to implement on-the-ground conservation, stewardship and/or restoration work.

Projects should generate tangible conservation outcomes or enhance high quality recreational experiences for the users of the National Forest System. Funds cannot support improvements of hardened facilities including, and similar to: campgrounds, parking lots, restrooms, visitor centers, and major signage.

The NFF supports results-oriented, on-the-ground, citizen-involved projects that maintain and/or restore ecosystem resiliency on National Forests by:

  • Promoting ecosystem structure, function and diversity; and/or
  • Promoting forest health through the removal or control of non-native invasive species, and/or reintroduction of native plants and trees.

Projects should be consistent with or supportive of identified large-scale conservation initiatives. The NFF will only consider monitoring projects focused on determining the long-term effectiveness of NFF funded on-the-ground work.

The NFF encourages projects that cohesively integrate Outdoor Experiences and Forest Health program areas. Ideal projects will have a strong connection to each of the individual program areas, and effectively integrate both in a clear, direct manner.

Examples of integrated projects include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Engaging community volunteers to complete riparian plantings as part of a watershed-scale restoration project;
  • Utilizing youth crews from underserved communities to complete habitat stewardship work and forest stand treatments.

The most compelling projects will strongly integrate the Outdoor Experiences and Forest Health Program Areas, and will receive a weighted advantage in evaluation. A project will not be eligible for full weighted advantage if it does not cohesively integrate the two program areas, or only does so nominally.

Civic Engagement

In addition to focusing on the above Program Areas, SCF requires projects show a strong commitment to civic engagement and community involvement through direct public involvement. In order to be eligible for funding, projects must contain significant, legitimate community involvement or civic engagement in the pre-implementation, implementation, or post-implementation phase.

Typically, this involves the use of volunteers in project implementation, or the implementation of projects selected as an outcome of a formal collaborative-planning process. Note that the community engagement portion of the project does not necessarily have to occur in the portion of the project receiving SCF funding, although the project narrative must clearly describe the community engagement component. The standard public involvement component of the NEPA process is insufficient to meet this requirement.


SCF and FSF are geographically restricted to the same National Forests from which individual guests contributions originated.


501(c)3 nonprofits, universities, state and local government entities, and Native American tribes are eligible to receive SCF and FSF grants. If an organization does not meet this eligibility requirement, it must utilize an eligible fiscal sponsor, in compliance with the NFF Policy on Fiscal Sponsorship.

Funding Restrictions

Applications will not be considered from:

  • Federal agencies;
  • For-profit organizations;
  • Consultants;
  • Educational and research organizations proposing projects that do not show tangible, on-the-ground benefit;
  • Organizations seeking general operating or programmatic support;
  • Organizations seeking funding for litigation or advocacy;
  • Organizations that cannot produce a 50% cash match of non-federal, project-directed contributions;
  • Organizations submitting a proposal for a work over a timeline longer than one year.

Match Requirements

SCF and FSF awards require a 50% nonfederal match of cash or in-kind contributions.

Letters of Support

All applications must include a letter of support from the District Ranger of each National Forest or Grassland unit included in a proposal. Do not submit any additional letters of support.

Application Process

Applications processes vary based on the individual grant round, with details provided in each Request for Proposals.

Funding Type

SCF awards private contributions from guests at ski areas and lodges on or adjacent to National Forests and pairs them with federal funds provided through a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Forest Service. SCF funds may not be used to meet the matching requirements of any other federal award program.

FSF awards private contributions from guests at lodges on or adjacent to National Forests.

Typical Awards

Varies greatly based on funding available.


Funds are awarded on a rolling basis as contributions accrue, via competitive and noncompetitive grant processes.

Proposal Deadlines for Competitive Rounds

White River National Forest
December 16, 2019 at 11:59 pm MST

Notifications of funding selection or rejection are typically made within 12 weeks of the proposal deadline.

contact information

For Nonprofit Organizations: If you have questions not answered on this website or in the available Requests for Proposals, please contact Adam Liljeblad, Director, Conservation Awards at 406.830.3357 or

For Ski Areas and Resorts: Guest contributions support Forest Health and Outdoor Experiences projects. Click here for more information about this program, or contact Kerry Morse, Conservation Programs Officer at 406.830.3358 or