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How can I take advantage of Recreational Trails Program funding?

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is an assistance program of the US Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) initially created under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). RTP is aimed at providing funds to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail related facilities. Funding can be used for both motorized (snowmobiles, four-wheel vehicles, all terrain vehicles, etc.) and non-motorized (pedestrian, bicycling, equestrian, skiing, etc.) recreational trail use.

Every State administers their own program and develops their own procedures for selecting projects that will receive funding. To assist with the RTP, each State has their own State Recreational Advisory Committee that can either select projects for funding or be solely advisory. A list of "Recreational Trails Program State Administrators" can be found here.

As listed by FHWA, RTP funds may be used for:

  • Maintenance and restoration of existing trails.
  • Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages.
  • Purchase and lease of trail construction and maintenance equipment.
  • Construction of new trails (with restrictions for new trails on Federal lands).
  • Acquisition of easements or property for trails.
  • Assessment of trail conditions for accessibility and maintenance.
  • Development and dissemination of publications and operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection related to trails (including supporting non-law enforcement trail safety and trail use monitoring patrol programs, and providing trail-related training) (limited to 5 percent of a State's funds).
  • State administrative costs related to this program (limited to 7 percent of a State's funds).

Between 1993 to 2009, 4.395 trail construction and development projects were undertaken representing $248,627,294 of RTP funds. The Coalition for Recreational Trails has compiled a database of all RTP projects funded since 1993 available here.

More Information

Recreational Trails Program - http://www.walkinginfo.org/library/details.cfm?id=4101

Other Government Funding Sources - http://www.walkinginfo.org/funding/sources-government.cfm