Statement from Trust for Public Land on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Announcing over $13.5 Million in Grant Funding to Support TPL’s Tribal and Indigenous Communities Land Return and Access Program

Washington, D.C. – Trust for Public Land [TPL] is proud to announce the commitment of $13.5 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] as part of the Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access [Increasing Land Access] Program. This funding will support TPL’s Tribal and Indigenous Communities Land Return and Access Project, a critical initiative aimed at restoring access to ancestral lands for Tribal and Indigenous communities across the country.  

A statement from David Patton, TPL’s Vice President, Center of Strategic Leadership & National Lands Initiative: 

“Trust for Public Land is excited about this USDA grant funding, which will empower us to make meaningful progress in advancing the rights and aspirations of Tribal and Indigenous communities across the country. We look forward to working hand in hand with our Indigenous partners, leveraging this support to restore land access, foster sustainable economies, and build resilient communities.

The USDA’s grant funding will significantly advance our strategy of supporting Tribal and Indigenous communities, amplifying tribal self-determination, and promoting greater engagement with federal programs. Through this project, TPL, in collaboration with Indigenous consultants and partners, will provide technical assistance and support to tribes and Indigenous organizations, facilitating the acquisition and management of agricultural and forestland in ancestral and ceded territories. The ultimate goal is to secure permanent ownership of these lands, enable sustainable production of forest and agricultural products, and restore forest ecosystems.

The Increasing Land Access Program, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, represents a significant investment in supporting underserved communities and ensuring equitable access to resources, tools, programs, and technical support. USDA and other federal land access programs have the potential to be a powerful tool for Tribes and Indigenous communities to regain the ability to steward their traditional agricultural land and working forestlands.

Under the leadership of Secretary Vilsack and the Biden-Harris Administration, this program aligns with USDA’s commitment to eliminating barriers and promoting equity and access for all, that better reflects the diversity of our nation. We applaud USDA and the Biden-Harris Administration for their vision and commitment to promoting access and equity for all Americans.”

TPL is committed to supporting Indigenous peoples in their efforts to regain access to and establish a meaningful relationship with their ancestral homelands. Centuries of racist and colonial policies have systematically undermined the ability of Indigenous communities to steward their traditional lands and waters. We firmly believe that Indigenous stewardship of land often yields better conservation and climate change mitigation outcomes than non-Indigenous stewardship. 


About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit