Funding for Trails
Often viewed as the biggest challenge in the trail development process, funding is an important link in moving a vision for trails from idea to finished community amenity. With a solid vision, trail plan, and strategy, funding becomes an opportunity instead of a barrier.
West Virginia’s Cacapon Resort State Park has long been a destination for hikers, equestrians, anglers, and golfers, and now, aims to be the next Mid-Atlantic mountain biking hub. To help achieve that, the Cacapon Resort State Park Foundation applied for an IMBA Trail Accelerator Grant in 2019, which resulted in a master plan with 30 miles of trail. That trail plan has since helped Cacapon State Park and the state of West Virginia leverage a variety of funding to bring the plan to life, including Recreational Trails Program dollars and a $2.8 million grant from the federal Economic Development Authority.
What is Trail Funding?
Funding is the capital required to create and maintain trails and the surrounding infrastructure. The funding process evaluates and engages in the best ways to obtain dollars from various sources: city, state, federal, donations, and grants, amongst others.
Funding is needed at different points throughout the development process, including seed funding for plans; construction funding; and operations and maintenance costs. Each trail project has its own best approach to fundraising based on the land manager, state or local politics, and opportunities. Most trail projects are funded through a combination of sources.