RTP Recreational Trails Program

Funding

$5 million

Details

Grant Limit

$150,000

Details

Match Requirement

20%

Details

The Recreational Trails Program provides federal funds to rehabilitate and maintain trails that provide a backcountry experience.

A backcountry experience means that the user will experience nature instead of seeing or hearing human development and activity. While backcountry trails may be near cities or roads, or even offer views of cities and towns, the trail’s physical setting should be predominately natural.

This grant program invests in all types of trails, including those for riding off-road vehicles, bicycling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, hiking, horseback riding, motorcycling, water trails, and more.

Grant Application Schedule

Item Date

Applications Open

August 10, 2020 

Applicant Webinar

September 1, 2020 

Application Due

November 1, 2020 

Technical Review

November 1, 2020 - November 30, 2020

Technical Completion Deadline

January 14, 2021 

Project Evaluation (Written)

February 1, 2021 - March 5, 2021

Board Awards Grants

April 1, 2021 Estimate

Grant Award History

Most recent grants and evaluation results, listed by the application year.

Application Resources

Grant Manual

Announcements

Project Celebrations

Read the article: “Outstanding State Trail Program” in a national competition.

Typical Projects

  • Clearing overgrown brush and fallen trees from trails
  • Repairing trail damage from floods and fires
  • Replacing bridges and drainage structures

Who May Apply?

  • Local agencies
  • Special purpose districts, such as park and recreation districts, public utility districts, and port districts. These districts must be legally authorized to develop, operate, and maintain recreational facilities.
  • Native American tribes
  • State agencies
  • Federal agencies
  • Trail-related, nonprofit organizations

Funding

Every 6 years, Congress passes the nation’s surface transportation bill. Since 1991, this massive funding authorization law has included provisions for these cooperative, state-administered grants.

Funding comes from federal gasoline taxes and is awarded every other year.

Grant Limits

General projects:  $150,000

Education projects: $20,000

Match Details

Local agencies, special purpose districts, tribes, and nonprofits must provide 20 percent match, and at least 10 percent of the total project cost must be from a non-state, non-federal contribution.

Federal agencies must provide at least 5 percent match from non-federal sources.

Match may include the following:

  • Appropriations or cash
  • Bonds
  • Donations of cash, land, labor, equipment, and materials
  • Federal, state, local, and private grants
  • Applicant’s labor, equipment, and materials

Environmental Requirement

Grant applicants must show compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Eligible Projects

  • Development: Development of trailside facilities, trailheads, and trail links for recreational trails.
  • Maintenance: Maintenance and restoration of trails, trailside facilities, and trailheads. Minor trail relocations.
  • Education: Programs to directly convey a safety or environmental protection message for recreational trails.

Ineligible Projects

  • New trail development not directly related to an existing trail
  • Land acquisition
  • Law enforcement
  • Projects facilitating motorized use on national forest or Bureau of Land Management land unless the land is not designated wilderness and construction is consistent with the management direction in the forest or Bureau plans.
  • Projects facilitating motorized use on or access to recreational trails on which, as of May 1, 1991, motorized use was prohibited or had not occurred.
  • Planning, feasibility studies, master plans, and wildlife impact studies
  • Roads or bridges unless specifically designated for recreational trail use, not accessible to or maintained for cars, or closely associated with a campground or trailhead project
  • Sidewalks and other paths that provide an urban trail experience
  • Those that severely restrict public use, such as deed provisions that have a significant negative impact on public recreational use of the property; projects may be on public or private land, but must provide written assurances of public access
  • Those on property bought under a conditional sales contract, unless the grant applicant has title to the property

Long-term Commitment

Trails and facilities developed with these grants must be open and available for 25 years.

Projects that maintain trails must be open and available during the active period of the project agreement; however, those that entail capital work to build new trails or facilities or make significant, long-term renewal improvements to existing facilities must be open and available for 25 years. For details, see the grant manual.