Federal Recreational Trails Program Grants
Federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds are apportioned to each state, which then uses a mix of federal and state guidelines to determine its dispersal. Some states' requirements may be more stringent than others, but in general the federal RTP money is used to supplement other funding sources. State RTP websites often have specific information regarding their matching grants requirements. Examples include:
- Pennsylvania: RTP provides up to 80 percent grant money, up to a maximum of $100,000, and 20 percent project applicant money. "Soft match" (credit for donations of funds, materials, services, or new right-of-way) is permitted from any project sponsor, whether a private organization or public agency.
- South Carolina: Requires a 20 percent match. The minimum grant amount is $10,000 with a maximum of $100,000.
- Oregon: Grant recipients will be required to provide a minimum 20 percent match.
- New Hampshire: Any funds, or the fair market value of materials and services may be donated by a project sponsor. Applicants are encouraged to provide a competitive match in their grant request. This match can be up to 20 percent of the project and can be in the form of cash, materials, labor and in-kind services.
The RTP program sets some common guidelines for all states to follow in determining matching grants and their amounts. However, it is best to check with your state's trail grant website or RTP contact to determine details particular to your state.
Who Can Apply?
Each state has it's own criteria for who can apply for RTP funds. Make sure to check your state's RTP homepage. The criteria is very similar but does change slightly from state to state. Below are examples from four states:
Virginia: Grant funding may be provided to private organizations, city governments, county governments, or other government entities, but must consider guidance from the DCR Trails Board. Additionally, federal government entities may be eligible to participate if teamed with private trail groups and organizations.
Maryland: Administered by the State Highway Administration (SHA), this program matches federal funds with local funds or in-kind contributions to implement trail projects. Projects can be sponsored by a county or municipal government, a private non-profit agency, a community group or an individual (non-governmental agencies must secure an appropriate government agency as a co-sponsor). Federal funds administered by the State Highway Administration are available for up to 80 percent of the project cost, matched by at least 20 percent funding.
Mississippi: Grants may be awarded to nonprofit (501(c)(3)) conservation organizations, municipal, county, State or Federal government agencies, and other government entities. This includes public education institutions, public utilities, state universities, state tribal governments and more...
Wisconsin: Towns, villages, cities, counties, tribal governing bodies, school districts, state agencies, federal agencies and incorporated organizations are eligible to receive reimbursement for development and maintenance of recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail uses. Eligible sponsors may be reimbursed for up to 50 percent of the total project costs.