2009 RTP Achievement Awards

Award-Winning Trail and Greenway Projects

 

The members of the Coalition for Recreational Trails have selected the winners of the "Annual Achievement Awards" in recognition of outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds. The award winners were recognized at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. on June 10, 2009 at the U.S. House of Representatives Rayburn House Office Building, during the annual celebration for Great Outdoors Week.

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Highbridge Park Project (New York)

Environment and Wildlife Compatibility

photo of people with bike

Dedicating the new Highbridge Park trail system with partner groups

 

A 2005 RTP award was utilized to create bicycle trails at Highbridge Park in New York City, marking the first time that bicycles have been allowed in New York City parks since 1991. The project was completed in 2007. The standards recommended by the International Mountain Bicycling Association convinced the City's Department of Parks and Recreation that professionally designed mountain bike trails could be built and maintained in New York City parks.

Highbridge Park was chosen as it was seen as underused for recreation and had long been a draw for illegal activities. At the same time, the recreational needs of the neighborhood youth were being underserved, increasing their long-term health risks and the costs for the city. Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists (CLIMB) decided to not only focus on mountain bike trails, but also on BMX facilities, to increase the community’s connectivity to the park.

The result has been a resounding success. Since the construction began on the trails, some 1200 hypodermic needles and truckloads of trash have been removed, neighborhood children have been enlisted as park caretakers, trail design has protected sensitive areas and work parties have removed invasive species.

photo of trail building

Building the BMX riding area

 

Most of the trail work was done by the Green Apple Corps along with the many volunteers who made it all possible. Supervising the youth workers and volunteers was Michael Vitti, President of CLIMB. Green Apple Corps is a division of AmeriCorps that works in New York City parks exclusively.

The program has since expanded to several other New York City parks, with IMBA-affiliate club CLIMB opening trails in Cunningham Park in Queens, and IMBA-affiliate club NYCMTB (New York City Mountain Bike Association) partnering with NYARA (New York Adventure Racing Association) to open trails in Wolfe's Pond Park on Staten Island.

 

Contacts:

 

 

 

photo of kids on bikes

Inner-city kids have benefitted most from the trails

Photo of trail along cliff

Trail along the rock face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The Recreational Trails Program

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is an assistance program of the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). See the FHWA website for more information. Federal transportation funds benefit recreation by making funds available to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses. The RTP funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from nonhighway recreational fuel use: fuel used for off-highway recreation by snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, and off-highway light trucks.

The Recreational Trails Program was first created in 1991 as part of the ground-breaking legislation known as ISTEA, and was expanded and reauthorized through the 2005 "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users'' (SAFETEA-LU). A series of extensions has continued the surface transportation funding authority.

 

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