Recreational Trails Program Awards

Annual achievement awards presented by the Coalition for Recreational Trails: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000

Coalition for Recreational Trails



Award-winning trail and greenway projects funded through the Recreational Trails Program


arrow Download Award Nomination Form for 2018


The Coalition for Recreational Trails seeks nominations for its Tom Petri Annual Achievement Awards. Winners are recognized in Washington, D.C. each June during Great Outdoors Month®. This awards program, now in its 20th year, recognizes outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds, showcasing excellent projects made possible by RTP funding and enhancing awareness and appreciation of the RTP among Members of Congress and other key officials. In 2014, the awards were named in honor of Tom Petri, a former Member of Congress and longtime RTP champion.

As an additional benefit, American Trails makes a web page for each winning project. See the over 100 award pages we have created since 2003. We hope you will join us in this important effort to recognize the significant contributions to our nationwide system of trails and greenways that the Recreational Trails Program is supporting all across the country.


Awards are given in several categories:

  • Maintenance and Rehabilitation – maintaining, repairing damage to, or upgrading the quality of a trail to improve the trail experience, increase user safety, and/or enhance protection of the environment, including wildlife
  • Construction and Design – planning and building a trail, portions of a trail (e.g., a bridge), or trail-related facilities (e.g., a trailhead, shelter, etc.)
  • Public-Private Partnerships and Access to/Use of Public Lands – facilitating and/or encouraging cost-effective partnerships between public and private entities, especially to increase access to and use of federal, state and local public lands, including parks, forests and wildlife refuges
  • Community Linkage – providing and/or enhancing opportunities for trail-based recreation and transportation within or near local communities
  • Education and Communication – using a variety of established and/or technologically innovative communications tools (e.g., web sites, social media and peer-to-peer information sharing) to increase environmental awareness, promote trail-related safety, encourage trail-related outdoor recreation and, overall, enhance trail use and enjoyment
  • Multiple-Use Management & Corridor Sharing – facilitating and/or encouraging the use of a trail corridor by more than one type of trail enthusiast, particularly those enthusiasts that do not ordinarily share trails or trail-related facilities
  • Accessibility Enhancement – facilitating and/or encouraging increased access to trail-related recreation opportunities for people with disabilities
  • Youth Conservation/Service Corps and Community Outreach – making effective use of the services and skills of qualified youth conservation or service corps and other community organizations as project partners and supporters
  • Engaging Public-Sector Partners – engaging and garnering the support of public-sector officials including local, state and federal elected officials or agency personnel for RTP-funded projects or the overall continuation/advancement of the RTP
  • Enhancement of Federal Lands – planning and building a trail or maintaining and rehabilitating a trail on federally managed lands to enhance the public use and enjoyment of those lands


Urban Trail

Awards are presented every year for
outstanding representative RTP projects.




Nominate a RTP-funded project by April 6, 2018

arrow DOWNLOAD Award Nomination Form


The nomination form and photos, plus any supporting materials, should be returned via e-mail by April 6, 2018 to Duane Taylor, the Chair of the Coalition’s Awards Committee, at  If you have any questions email or call him at (703) 416-0444.  Winners should be notified no later than May 11, 2018. 

It is important to note that photos and other materials included as part of the nominations are often used to highlight RTP projects in the Federal Highway Administration RTP Annual Report, CRT’s RTP Facebook page, and in the online RTP Database Image Library.  In addition, American Trails features RTP-funded projects in its monthly eNews and online articles. As a result, simply nominating your project may result in increased exposure for your project! 

arrow See State by State list of all Recreational Trails Program Awards with links to individual award web pages


To be eligible projects must be completed and must have been finished no earlier than 2010. You can check the online Recreational Trails Program Database to be sure a project included RTP funding. Please note: Data collection is an ongoing effort and is regularly being entered into the database as it is received from the States, District of Columbia, and other sources. Should you need assistance with the RTP Database, please contact

We invite you to nominate an outstanding project and to encourage the sponsor(s) of an excellent project in your state to submit a nomination as well.  We also encourage you to solicit support from the appropriate Members of Congress— both U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators— to build awareness of excellent RTP-funded projects and the RTP program itself.



Since 2009, the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) has presented Achievement Awards in recognition of outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds by state trail programs and by state recreational trails advisory committees. These two state awards are in addition to the CRT Achievement Awards that recognize excellent projects funded by the RTP.  All the awards are named in honor of Tom Petri, the former Member of Congress who was a long-time champion of the RTP. 


This year, the CRT is asking both its member trail organizations and the State Trail Administrators to submit nominations for both awards.  CRT members who nominate candidates for either or both state awards are encouraged to work in partnership with the appropriate state trail administrator (find contacts at to prepare the nomination package. The criteria for each award are listed in the attachments to this email.  Also attached are the nomination forms for both awards.


The deadline for submitting state award nominations is April 13, 2018.  Nominations should be submitted to The nomination packages for both awards will then be sent to the Awards Committee of the National Association of State Park Directors, which will select the winners.  Their selections will be announced by May 15th, allowing time for the winners to arrange travel to the presentation in Washington, D.C., which is expected to be held during the first or second full week of June.


Nominate a RTP-funded State Trail Program by April 13, 2018

arrow DOWNLOAD State Trail Program Award Criteria

arrow DOWNLOAD State Trail Program Award Nomination Form


Nominate a RTP-funded State Trail Advisory Committee by April 13, 2018

arrow DOWNLOAD State Trail Advisory Committee Award Criteria

arrow DOWNLOAD State Trail Advisory Committee Award Nomination Form






The Recreational Trails Program

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) of the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses. RTP funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion— less than one third— of the motor fuel excise tax paid into the Trust Fund from nonhighway recreational fuel use. Since 1993, more than 22,000 RTP-funded projects have been funded nationwide and are documented on the RTP database: The RTP leverages hundreds of millions of dollars of additional support from other sources for trails, encourages productive cooperation among trail users, and facilitates healthy outdoor recreation and economic activity across America.


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