Recreational Trails Program


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arrow See "Key reasons for a state NOT to opt out of the Recreational Trails Program"

arrow See "California likely to opt out of Recreational Trails Program"

arrowCalifornia's Great Outdoors Month Proclamation by Gov. Jerry Brown (pdf 363 kb)


States announce trail funding after opting out of RTP

Florida and Kansas were the only State to "opt out" of the Recreational Trails Program when the federal transportation funding authorization was announced earlier in 2012. Soon after, however, both made announcements that they were in fact spending significant dollars on trails. What is not clear is the actual source of these funds, the specific projects that may be funded, and how this affects the States' future plans for trails.

Apparently the campaign by trail supporters made it clear that the public DOES expect trails to be state priority, whatever the category of funding is called.


Florida commits to full funding of Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails

From Florida Department of Transportation (Aug. 31, 2012)


The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will continue to fully fund Safe Routes to Schools and recreational trails in Florida thanks to the flexibility included in the new federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) legislation. Despite funding cuts in the Transportation Alternatives section ofthe bill, FDOT will commit to funding these two programs at prior year levels. The flexibility in MAP-21 allows the Department to address one of its top priorities: making Florida a safer state for bicyclists and pedestrians.

"We are redoubling our efforts to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians in Florida," said FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad. "That's why we are fully funding these important programs." In an effort to ensure Florida can maximize the use of its federal funds for projects that are ready to go and to ensure flexibility, Florida Governor Rick Scott today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to opt out ofa funding provision in the MAP-2l legislation.

"This action should in no way be viewed as an indication that Florida does not support recreational trails," said Secretary Prasad. "Florida offers a year-around opportunity for our residents and visitors to enjoy our great state as cyclists and pedestrians. We want to make their experiences as safe and enjoyable as possible."

The Office of Greenways & Trails within the Florida Department of Environmental Protection provides statewide leadership and coordination in the establishment, expansion and promotion of the Florida Greenways and Trails System (FGTS). More than $24 million in grants have been awarded for Florida recreational trails in the past. FGTS will continue to administer the program using transportation funding.

A new category of federal transportation funding called Transportation Alternatives was created in MAP-21. Eligible uses for these funds include bicycling, pedestrian facilities and recreational trails which were previously funded by separate programs. While Florida's total funding for Transportation Alternatives will be less than the combination of funding for the prior separately funded programs, FDOT will use the funding flexibility in MAP-21 to fully fund Safe Routes to Schools and recreational trails. For more information, please go to


Kansas allocates $2 million for trails from its state Transportation Alternatives fund

From Kansas Department of Transportation (Sept. 14, 2012)

Kansas’ recreational trails program will receive $2 million under the federal transportation bill passed by Congress this summer.
“One of our highest priorities is to enhance ecotourism in Kansas, which includes developing a good trail system," said Robin Jennison, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), which manages the trails program. “This level of funding will allow us to make great strides in the number and quality of trails across our state.”

Federal transportation dollars go to the Kansas Department of Transportation, which then transfers an allocation to KDWPT for the trails program. The federal transportation bill – Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21 – had specified $1.3 million for the trails program, but a decision was made to increase the allocation in accordance with new flexibility provisions in MAP-21.

“KDOT and KDWPT worked to come up with a way to prioritize the amount of money that should be applied to recreational trails and determined that $2 million is the appropriate level,” said Transportation Secretary Mike King. “This will help move ecotourism forward in Kansas.” Kansas has more than 650 trails totaling more than 2,100 miles in length. KDWPT directly manages trails located on state park, wildlife area or state fishing lake properties. The others are managed by local governments or non-governmental organizations. To locate trails, visit

Earlier this month, Kansas exercised a provision in the federal transportation bill to “opt out” of the recreational trails program. Exercising that provision simply gave the state maximum flexibility to prioritize the funding. It didn’t eliminate state support for the recreational trails program, which has received about $1.3 million annually in recent years. To have that flexibility option, the state had to “opt out” by Sept. 1.

Kansas will receive $366 million in federal transportation funding for the 2012 federal fiscal year, which is down from the $399 million it received in 2011.

Background on the Recreational Trails Program

arrow Download the Recreational Trails Program information sheet

arrow See "Two States "opt out" of Recreational Trails Program Funding"

arrow See "Indiana Gov. Daniels announces continued Recreational Trails Program funding"

arrow See "States announce trail funding after opting out of RTP"

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