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Federal funding programs
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Read more about current funding for trails, parks, outdoor recreation, and federal land management on the American Trails website:

Agencies plan trail projects as part of economic recovery funding

Federal funding drives efforts to invest in trail systems on public lands as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT was created to add $787.2 billion to the economy with an emphasis on job creation and major infrastructure projects. The bill includes expenditures for trails, parks, and public lands under local, state, and federal management. Funding opportunities for park and recreation agencies include various competitive grant programs, federal budgets, and community development block grant programs.

Read more about the ARRA, federal budgets, and funding for trails at AmericanTrails.org/support.html.

FHWA to receive highway and Enhancements funds

The Federal Highway Administration is authorized $27.5 billion for competitive grants for infrastructure projects including highway rehabilitation and restoration, bridge repair, and projects to improve highway safety and resurfacing. The bill also allows for up to 3% of each state’s allocation to be used towards Transportation Enhancements projects (about $800 million nationwide). These projects allow opportunities for park and recreation agencies as well as cities to directly apply for funding for trail, bike, and pedestrian projects. For more details see www.fhwa.dot.gov/economicrecovery.

NPS will oversee $750 million in stimulus programs

The NATIONAL PARK SERVICE will receive funds to help preserve and protect national icons and historic landscapes, improve energy efficiency at park units, and improve roads and trails. Funding includes $589 million for construction and repairs, including restoration of historic facilities and road work. An additional $146 million for operations will address deferred maintenance of trails and recreation facilities.

The Park Service as well as other Department of Interior programs will engage young adults in these projects throughout the nation. Job Corps and youth recruited by partners including the Student Conservation Association will assist in restoring trails and in controlling invasive species. More information on NPS recovery plans are at www.doi.gov/recovery/plans.html.

BLM plans economic stimulus programs related to trails

The BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT will have some portion of their part of the stimulus package (about $320 million) directed at three areas that have a significant connection to trails and recreation:

1. trails construction or travel management
2. road and trail maintenance
3. facility related deferred maintenance

BLM anticipates the majority of the funds will emphasize renewable energy development and conservation, and habitat restoration projects. BLM is emphasizing projects that employ people or engage youth such as AmeriCorps programs, plus highly-rated projects such as those located in units of the National Landscape Conservation System. While national scope projects are not anticipated, there may be interstate projects such as national Historic Trails.

Not all projects are construction or maintenance related; some may involve condition assessments of trails or roads, route inventory and GPS mapping, as well as evaluations and corridor studies. Once projects are identified and approved, the states will be able to move forward with implementation in the next three to 18 months.

Most of the projects will be contracted through the normal agency contracting procedures; BLM has taken steps to increase its procurement staff. Some projects may be extensions of existing projects. BLM contracts will be handled through the respective state and field offices.

Find BLM opportunities at: https://www.fbo.gov.

National Forests plan work on trails across the country

THE FOREST SERVICE WILL SEE $1 BILLION agency-wide to provide private sector employment for thousands of people to maintain and enhance the Forest Service’s recreational infrastructure, including trails and developed sites. The agency has the largest network of trails in the world and these funds will enable USFS to work with partners to address the maintenance backlog. See more details at www.fs.fed.us/recovery.

These funds will be used to protect private sector jobs at risk at many existing concessions, outfitter and guides, recreation lodges and related businesses by addressing the need to repair basic infrastructure and enhancing the quality of the recreation experience on which they depend. This first set of projects comprises 10% of the total projects being funded in the Forest Service under ARRA. They include construction and maintenance of facilities, roads, and trails, and abandoned mine mitigation, and wildland fire management projects.

As one example, the Superior National Forest will use $557,000 of funding to improve conditions on its extensive trail system, including hiking, portage, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ATV, and interpretive trails. Work will be done in partnership with Minnesota Conservation Corps, including brushing, tread work, erosion control, boardwalk reconstruction, and trail sign maintenance. Project sites will include the Kekekabic Trail, Whiteface Campground Hiking Trail, Franklin Lake ATV Trail, and Cascade River Ski Trail.

Fish and Wildlife Service plans for trail work with ARRA funds

THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE SYSTEM will be spending about $45 million on hiring young people, ranging from the 15-17 year-old Youth Conservation Corps that work on the refuge properties, to college interns, including Student Conservation Association and other conservation corps. During the two fiscal years agencies have to spend ARRA funds, much of the work that the corps will accomplish will include trails and trail-related facilities. Interested corps groups or trail builders can contact the eight Fish and Wildlife Service regional offices to get more information once the ARRA funds are released at www.fws.gov/offices.

Youth and conservation corps to receive funding increase

A TOTAL OF $160 MILLION was provided for the National and Community Service Act, with $89 million reserved for AmeriCorps. Parks and recreation agencies are eligible to receive AmeriCorps projects and volunteers. See The Corps Network’s “Recovery Resource Center” at www.corpsnetwork.org.

Department of Energy grants may fund bike/ped facilities

T HE ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION Block Grant (EECGB) program is a new program created in late 2007 and funded for the first time through the ARRA. The program provides funding for local governments and states to support projects that improve energy efficiency in all sectors, including transportation. Because the funding comes through ARRA, additional goals have been added focused on job creation and economic stimulus.

Two of the goals of EECBG funding are right in line with bicycle, pedestrian, and Safe Routes to School projects, and could be beneficial to communities who want to develop bicycling and pedestrian networks and improve access to work, school, and retail. In addition, at a later date the Department of Energy will be releasing a separate Funding Announcement for $455 million in competitive grants. A list of eligible localities and estimated allocations are available at www.eecbg.energy.gov/grantalloc.html.

Read more about current funding for trails, parks, outdoor recreation, and federal land management on the American Trails website:

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