There's $1.5 million immediately available and another $5 million requested in the Obama administration's 2012 budget for creating, expanding, and/or enhancing urban parks and other public spaces through the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program.

The USDA Forest Service program helps local governments, Indian tribes, and qualified nonprofits establish community forests. Applicants must be in the process of establishing a forest, developing a forest plan, and determining long-term management needs.

The grants require a 50% match, and awardees must ensure public access to the protected lands. Once in the program, the lands cannot be sold or developed.