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Recreation Trails Program

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Outdoor Recreation Grants

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Vermont Recreational Trails Program

What is the Recreational Trails Program?

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a federally funded program of the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), providing grants administered at the State level to help develop and maintain recreational trails, trail-related facilities and trailheads.  Both motorized and non-motorized trail projects may qualify for RTP funds.

Benefits of trails

Recreational trails provide significant recreation infrastructure for a wide range of outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, biking, walking, running, water-based trail use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicular riding, or using other off-road motorized recreational vehicles, in-line skating, and equestrian use.

Who administers RTP in Vermont?

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) administers RTP in Vermont.

Why apply for RTP funds? 

Every year, the State's apportionment of RTP funds is made available to focus on issues of statewide importance and to help achieve desired conditions in the Vermont Trails & Greenways Plan (click on link under "More Information" above). Organizations and municipalities with a well-planned trail project eligible under RTP which helps to achieve any of the desired conditions in this plan, meets local town plans, regional plan, and/or land management planning, and has local support are encouraged to apply for a grant for up to 80% of the project's total cost.  A 20% sponsor match is required.  Applicants can apply for up to $50,000.

When are grant applications available?

2015 RTP grant applications are now available on this website.  Grant applications are due February 2, 2015.

Who is eligible?

Municipalities and non-profit organizations may apply for grants.   

How much money ($$$) can I apply for?

RTP grants can provide up to 80% of a project's cost, with a maximum grant award of $50,000. 

What is the required match?

Project sponsors must provide a match of 20%.

Match may consist of:

State Funds: other state grants/funds

Local Funds: municipal/local government, public funding, local tax revenues for the project, donations of public/municipal employees' labor

Private Funds: foundations, cash contributions, money from fundraising events, non-profit organizations' grants or awards, non-monetary private donations, an organization's donated labor

Federal Funds: other federal funds may be contributed to the project as long as the total federal portion of the project is no more than 95% of the project cost; call the RTP administrator if you will be using other federal funds

When seeking donations of labor from other entities and organizations, find out how their labor will be funded (i.e. through federal, state, local or private funds)

The State's allocation of its annual RTP apportionment

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) uses 7% of its annual apportionment for State administrative costs.

In order to use the full apportionment of RTP funds, Vermont must allocate the remainder of funds so at least 40% of RTP funds are allocated for recreational trail projects that facilitate diverse recreational trail use (either more than one non-motorized use, more than one motorized use, or both motorized and non-motorized use), 30% is allocated to facilitate motorized use, and another 30% is allocated to facilitate non-motorized use.  FPR may lift the maximum grant award if it needs to meet these allocation requirements.

All projects must meet the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Recreational Trails Program Rules. For FHWA Recreational Trails Program Rules, go to:

For Recreational Trails Program Guidance, go to:

What is eligible? 

  • Maintenance and restoration of existing trails;
  • Development and rehabilitation of trails, trailside and trailhead facilities, and trail linkages;
  • Purchase and rental fees for trail construction and trail maintenance equipment or tools necessary to carry out eligible projects;
  • Construction of new trails
  • Acquisition of easements or property for trails or recreational trail corridors;
  • Assessment of existing trail conditions for accessibility and maintenance;
  • Educational Programs for development or dissemination of trail-user educational materials or publications for trail users; statewide trail information, operation of educational programs to promote trail safety and environmental protection related to trails (non-law enforcement trail safety), trail use monitoring; trail patrol programs; search and rescue efforts; public education efforts to promote appropriate trail use;

Educational programs:

Up to 5% of a State's federal apportionment may be used for educational projects, and, States may use less than this amount.

Sponsors who apply to RTP for educational project funds should focus on public education efforts aimed at providing the public with information about trail safety, appropriate trail use, manage uses, allowable use(s), accessibility, and environmental protection. 

If your project receives notification of a grant award, here are 3 items you need to know:

 1.  You will be notified of the grant award in spring, but the anticipated date of grant approval with an executed grant agreement from FPR is not until July 1, 2015 or later.

2.  The grant award is contingent on funding approval, so projects may not begin until FPR processes the fully executed grant agreement.  The grant agreement is the instrument providing grant authorization and project approval from FPR.  It also sets the parameters as to what work must be done, how the work will be done, and how the Sponsor will be paid.

3. A project may not be reimbursed for project expenditures that begin before the project is approved with an authorized grant agreement.

Contact Information:
For more information about RTP please contact FPR's Grant Programs Manager:

Sherry Smecker Winnie
Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
1 National Life Drive, Davis 2
Montpelier, VT  05620-3801
Tel:  802-760-8450



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