Recreational Trails Program





Earlier news and legislative actions on RTP and federal transportation funding

arrow See Current legislation, issues, and action






NEWS: October 27, 2015: Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act bill updates federal fee collection and spending.

The House Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, October 28, on legislation that would rewrite FLREA, which gives federal agencies authority to increase (and decrease) entrance and user fees. A new bill, titled the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Modernization Act of 2015 would authorize broad new partnerships with private companies in the management of developed recreation sites on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) properties. According to Federal Parks & Recreation, "The renewal of FLREA gains priority now because national park units across the country are increasing entrance fees sharply. From all agencies the program took in $278.6 million in fiscal 2014, of which NPS collected $187 million."

The American Recreation Coalition, in cooperation with the National Parks Conservation Association, has developed a sign-on letter to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands expressing strong support for the reauthorization of FLREA and offering comments and recommendations regarding the new FLREA legislation that will be the subject of a hearing by the Subcommittee on October 28. Read the letter supporting FLREA... and see the changes to the law that would be made by the proposed legislation...


NEWS: October 26, 2015: Congress debates reauthorizing money for Land and Water Conservation Fund. Politics are heating up for action on the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Many voices, including the President’s, urge Copngress to act on reauthorizing LWCF funding.

While Republicans in both House and Senate have begun to write legislation to revise or extend the law, some western Republicans who control the House Natural Resources Committee would like to revise the law so as to divert some of the program money to federal land management agency maintenance, in particular for the Park Service. The administration wants a straight extension.

Meanwhile the Senate Energy Committee approved S 2012 to extend LWCF permanently. Other stand-alone bills to reauthorize LWCF include S 338 from Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), S 890 and S 2165 from Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and S 1925 from Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM). In the House, one bill to reauthorize LWCF (HR 1814) included more than 140 cosponsors from both parties, led by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) has not moved.

As for FY 2016 appropriations for the program, the Senate Appropriations Committee previously approved an appropriations bill (S 1645) with $157.5 million for federal land acquisition and $55 million for state grants. A counterpart House spending bill (HR 2822) that is now stalled on the floor would appropriate $91 million for the federal side and $48 million for state grants. The FY 2015 appropriation for state grants was $48 million. Read more on LWCF funding proposals... and see commentary by NRPA...


NEWS: October 25, 2015: House keeps bike/ped and trails funding in transportation reauthorization bill.

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passed its federal transportation funding bill Oct. 22. The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is continued as a separate entity in the bill within a new Surface Transportation Block Grant Program in Section 133(h) and is called “Surface Transportation Program Setaside." HR 3763 would set up a TAP-like fund under which Transportation Enhancements, Scenic Byways and Safe Routes to School would compete for money.

The administration bill (HR 2410) called Grow America recommends that Congress allocate $847 million to the TAP program in fiscal year 2016, up $27 million from a fiscal 2015 allocation of $820 million. The Senate bill (S. 1647) is called DRIVE, as in Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act, would extend the existing TAP program with $850 million per year for the next six years.

The debate in Congress will continue to be about funding the shortfall in Highway Trust Fund fuel tax, which contributes only $34 billion per year of the needed $46 billion. So Congress must come up with $13 billion or more per year from other sources of revenue, or increase gasoline taxes. Check this page for updates on transportation funding...


NEWS: August 7, 2015: Senate passes "DRIVE": a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.

The US Senate has passed the new bill titled the "Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act" by a vote of 65-34. October 31, 2015 is now the new deadline for the House to pass its own multi-year transportation bill. The Senate legislation maintains "Transportation Alternatives" funding, which includes trails and bike/ped programs, at $850 million a year, up from the current $819 million. The Recreational Trails Program continues as a "set-aside" fund within the Transportation Alternatives. Trail advocates believe the transportation bill is a win as it keeps funding for State trails grants intact. Read the full text of the bill... - See analysis by League of American Bicyclists...


NEWS: August 7, 2015: Permanent funding proposed for Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Legislation approved by the Senate Energy Committee would reauthorize the LWCF permanently. Most of the funds would be split 40-40 between federal projects and grants to states for local projects, including trails and greenways. This 40 percent minimum for “grants to states” would also include USFS Forest Legacy programs for “working forests," USFWS Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation, and the the NPS American Battlefield Protection Program. The bill would also establish a separate National Park Service maintenance account. Read more about LWCF legislation...


NEWS: July 30, 2015: Attack on funding for trails, walking, and biking defeated in Senate bill.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) had introduced an amendment (S.A. 2280) to eliminate the Transportation Alternatives Program as well as the Recreational Trails Program. The Coalition for Recreational Trails reports that "the provisions affecting the Recreational Trails Program were left alone. The amendments from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would have eliminated RTP - which we asked you to help stop - were not brought up for consideration. While it's difficult to track exactly, we have heard that volumes of calls opposing Sen. Lee's amendments were received by Senate offices. Thank you so much for your tremendous help!"


NEWS: July 16, 2015: House passes six-month extension of Federal transportation funding.

The House passed yet another in the series of extensions of MAP-21, the current transportation funding law. The funding was set to expire July 31 and now continues to December 18 with programs for trails and bike/ped projects intact. House leadership claims to be working on a long-term funding solution. The short-term bill would require Congress to come up with $8 billion to cover the shortfall between fuel tax revenue and the planned expenditures. Meanwhile, the Senate is continuing work on a six-year bill with various authorizing committees working on funding and policy issues. Read more in Washington Examiner article...


NEWS: July 9, 2015: Organizations write Congress in support of the Transportation Alternatives Program

A recent letter to Congress in support of the Transportation Alternatives Program was signed by 302 organizations signed on, with at least one from every state across the country. The letter was coordinated by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to show the wide range of support for the TAP program and the broad benefits that come from trails, walking and biking. Download letter in support off Transportation Alternatives... (pdf 7.8 mb)


NEWS: June 28, 2015: House to resume consideration of Interior appropriations bill (HR 2822) July 7

House and Senate appropriations committees have proposed Federal land management agency budgets for 2016. The Interior and Related Agencies appropriations bills (HR 2822 and S 1645) generally maintain funding at the same level as 2015. Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) funds are still being debated. The House approved $91 million for Federal land acquisition and $48 million for State grants to open space, trails, and parks projects. The Senate version allocates $157.5 million for the Federal side and $55 million for State grants. Read more from House Appropriations Committee...


NEWS: June 3, 2015: Federal transportation funding update from Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

Transportation funding extended to July 31: The current extension for MAP-21 was set to expire May 31, but with no agreement on a long-term funding fix Congress just extended it yet again. At least $15 billion/year is needed to fill in the revenue shortfall, but no consensus is in sight. Meanwhile, the Senate Environment and Public Works committee has set their markup for the Senate portions of the transportation bill (which includes trails and bike/ped programs) for June 24.

Efforts to ban bike path spending: While there has been increasing support for trails, bicycling, and walking, some members of Congress have introduced bills to stop use of federal dollars for what they see as non-highway projects. In addition, members of Congress can offer amendments to the overall Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill to limit how money can be spent, for instance banning spending on bicycling or walking infrastructure.


NEWS: May 6, 2015: Organizations ask USDOT Secretary Foxx to step up bike/ped safety initiatives. Organizations are being asked to sign on to a letter to USDOT Secretary Foxx supporting policies to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. The goal is to communicate the importance of making strategic reforms to administrative policies and practices that will maximize the impact of DOT's safety agenda for people walking and cycling. The letter, written by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, asks DOT to inventory agency policies and practices to identify reform opportunities and we specify a series of issues-like speed limits, transit access, and integrating health into transportation-that could make the reform real. Read more...


NEWS: May 1, 2015: Senate introduces National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act as companion to House bill. Senate Bill 1110 (S. 1110) is a companion bill to H.R. 845 which is currently before the House of Representatives. The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act responds, in part, to a June 2013 report by the Government Accountability Office that reviewed the status and causes of the Forest Service trail maintenance backlog. It would would direct the Forest Service to develop strategies to more effectively use volunteers and partners to assist in maintaining national forest trails. The bill was introduced at the request of Back Country Horsemen of America, Wilderness Society, and American Horse Council. Read more about the partnership supporting the National Forest Trails System Stewardship Act...


NEWS: April 28, 2015: Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act introduced. Senators Cochran and Cardin have introduced S. 705 to amend language related to the Transportation Alternatives Program, which provides federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs as well as the Recreational Trails Program. According to Sen. Cochran, the bill would: • Restore funding for TAP to the 2012 funding levels that existed for the three consolidated programs (Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails) that were consolidated to create TAP. • Ensure that two-thirds of the program’s funds are distributed by population, ensuring that rural areas, small towns and large cities are able to access appropriate shares of resources. • Give states the flexibility to meet federal cost-sharing requirements across the entire program, which would result in lower matching requirements for lower-resourced communities being offset by higher matches from larger communities within a state. Read text of the bill...

Fact Sheets about S. 705 are available from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the League of American Bicyclists. A S. 705 grassroots alert draft is also available with text explaining the bill.

See the final sign-on letter supporting S. 705, with 42 organizations signing on to promote the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act and the letter from American Trails stating that "if there is an increase in transportation funding and/or an increase in TAP funding, that American Trails would of course request an increase in Recreational Trails Program funding as well."


NEWS: April 21, 2015: Speak Up for Trails, Walking, and Biking! As the May 31 expiration date for Federal transportation funding (MAP-21) approaches, a chorus of voices is calling for the elimination of the Transportation Alternatives Program and its funding for bike/ped, trail, and safe routes to school facilities in the next transportation bill. Now is the time to fight back! The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has written a Pro-TAP Letter to Congress and is asking for organizations to sign on by April 24. We ask our lawmakers to protect and prioritize our programs for trails, walking and biking in the current reauthorization. Read more and see the letter supporting TAP...


NEWS: March 19, 2015: Massie: No More Bike Paths, Trails, Light Rail from Highway Trust Fund. Congressman Thomas Massie introduced the DRIVE (Developing Roadway Infrastructure for a Vibrant Economy) Act of 2015 with Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI), Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), and Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) as original co-sponsors. The bill (H.R. 1461) would "help keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent and improve our national infrastructure, without raising the gas tax, by refocusing the Highway Trust Fund on its original and proper role of building and maintaining federal highways and bridges." The bill would eliminate funding for bike paths, sidewalks, mass transit, and other local projects. Read more ...


NEWS: March 15, 2015: Congressional allies champion Recreational Trails Program. When Congress last enacted major transportation legislation, the Recreational Trails Program funding was retained despite major efforts to reduce the number of federal surface transportation programs by three-quarters. This success was due not only to strong congressional champions, but also to the efforts of trail enthusiasts and advocacy organizations united through the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT). Derrick Crandall, Co-Chair of the CRT, details these efforts and the current status of support among our Senators and Representatives for continuing essential trails funding. Read more ...


NEWS: February 13, 2015: Administration asks for full funding of LWCF and increases in Federal land and recreation expenditures. According to February 3, 2015 Federal Parks & Recreation, funding levels for Federal lands and related recreation programs would rise somewhat over FY2014. National Park Service administration, for instance, would rise to $3.048 billion, an increase of $433 million over fiscal 2015. For BLM recreation the administration recommended $75.4 million compared to a fiscal 2015 appropriation of $67 million. Read more on proposed Federal land budgets for FY2016...

The administration also requests $900 million per year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Out of that $53.2 million would go to the States for local park and trail grant programs. The proposal assumes that Congress will pass new legislation to guarantee $900 million per year for LWCF. Read more on LWCF funding proposals...


NEWS: February 13, 2015: Administration makes FY2016 Federal transportation budget request. The Obama administration on February 2 asked Congress to allocate $847 million to a Transportation Alternatives Program, up $27 million from a fiscal 2015 allocation of $820 million. The challenge is how to boost overall transportation funding. The President proposed a restructuring of the tax code to generate revenue from corporations that seek to repatriate income from foreign countries. Others have suggested an increase in the Federal fuel tax, a politically difficult stance for many in Congress.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation in its budget statement, “The program creates safe, accessible, attractive, and environmentally sensitive communities where people want to live, work, and engage in recreation. This program provides resources to expand transportation choices and enhance the transportation experience.”

The February 3, 2015 Federal Parks & Recreation summed up the concern for trail advocates: "The proposals are crucial to outdoor programs because without significant new sources of money Congressional leaders will be tempted to limit surface transportation spending to core highway construction. And they might terminate recreation programs such as transportation enhancements and recreational trails."


NEWS: Heritage Foundation focuses on Highway Trust Fund spending. A book of government cost-cutting ideas offered by the conservative Heritage Foundation on Thursday includes a big one for transportation: limit spending from the Highway Trust Fund only to the amount of revenue the fund collects from federal highway taxes (roughly $39 billion annually).

The Heritage Budget Book said that “Congress diverts at least 25 percent of HTF dollars to non-road, non-bridge projects, including bicycle and nature paths, sidewalks, subways and buses, landscaping, and related low-priority and purely local activities.” See the full story by Roll Call at:


NEWS: FEB. 11, 2015 - 10:00 am EST: House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee hearing on “Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill: Laying the Foundation for U.S. Economic Growth and Job Creation Part I”.

Supporters of trail and bike/ped funding were urged to tweet questions or comments (#StuckInTraffic) in support of the Recreational Trails Program prior to or during the Twitter Town Hall. Read more...


The House approved HR 3979 on December 4 to fund a wide variety of national parks initiatives. According to Dec. 19, 2014 Federal Parks & Recreation, the bill includes funding for additions to several national park units and extend several national heritage areas. It would also authorize the Treasury Department to mint $5 gold coins, $1 silver coins and half-dollar coins during 2016 for the NPS Centennial. The provisions are part of an omnibus bill, titled "National Defense Authorization Act," which includes many add-on programs. Read more...


Another try for ADT designation: National Discovery Trails Act of 2013 (H.R. 3022 and S. 2346)

July 21, 2014: A hearing is scheduled for Jul 23, 2014 (2:30) p.m by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources - Subcommittee on National Parks. S. 2346 would (1) establish a national system of discovery trails under the National Trails Act and (2) designate the American Discovery Trail the first unit of the discovery trails. See S. 2346 Bill Summary and Status...


H.R. 4886: National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2014

June 20, 2014: Trail Stewardship Act would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to publish in the Federal Register a strategy to significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners in National Forest System trail maintenance, and for other purposes. This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on June 18, 2014, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole. Read more...


Administration sends 2014 transportation funding proposal to Congress

May 3, 2014: The Obama administration unveiled a new plan for Federal transportation programs, which has included funding for trails as well as bicycle/pedestrian facilities and related programs. Trail advocates are closely watching these developments to ensure that such funding continues. Read more...


 Senators support continuation of the Recreational Trails Program

arrow See the final Senate Dear Colleague Letter signed by 24 Senators with 18 Democrats and 6 Republicans (pdf 1.4 mb)

April 29, 2014: The Coalition for Recreational Trails has been working with members and staff of the United States Senate to boost awareness of and support for the Recreational Trails Program. U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jim Risch (R-ID), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Richard Burr (R-NC) have released a Dear Colleague letter to the Senate Transportation Committee, supporting the continuation of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) in the next surface transportation authorization bill.

arrow Read more about the campaign for reauthorizing the Recreational Trails Program...


Sept. 1, 2014: Signatures urged to letter asking U.S. DOT to include public health considerations in their proposed Transportation Planning rule

The Partnership for Active Transportation is circulating a sign-on letter to encourage the U.S. Department of Transportation to require the inclusion of public health considerations in transportation planning and to improve the provisions related to walking and biking. This will ensure that safe and convenient active-transportation networks are available for millions of Americas, which will help prevent chronic diseases and premature deaths associated with a lack of physical activity and ultimately save billions of taxpayer dollars spent on health car. Read more...

Aug. 1, 2014: S 2322: proposed Senate six-year transportation authorization bill

The Senate voted to amend the House-passed Highway Trust Fund bill but shortened the extension time so that it expires Dec. 19, 2014. The bill now heads to President Obama for his signature. Read more...


July 1, 2014: Senators Oppose funding for Forest Service LWCF

Seven Republican senators June 26 called for zeroing out Land and Water Conservation (LWCF) funding for the Forest Service in fiscal year 2015. Read more...


July 1, 2014: Senator seeks to eliminate TAP funding

July 30, 2014: Sen. Toomey's amendment failed to gather the 60 votes of support it needed when the Senate voted on the Transportation funding bill.

July 8, 2014: Pennsylvania organizations are urged to sign a letter to Sen. Toomey prepared by the Rail-to-Trails Conservancy opposing his amendment and supporting the continuation of TAP programs, including the RTP.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has mounted a campaign to eliminate money for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). If accepted, the Senate Finance Committee would forbid any Highway Trust Fund money from being used for TAP, which allocates more than $700 million per year to bike/ped and recreational trails programs. Read more...

June 5, 2014: The Obama administration unveiled a new plan for Federal transportation programs, which has included funding for trails as well as bicycle/pedestrian facilities and related programs. Trail advocates are closely watching these developments to ensure that such funding continues. Read more...


April 9, 2014: Coalition for Recreational Trails maps out strategies for RTP reauthorization

CRT leaders met with Congressional staffers to promote continued funding for the Recreational Trails Program. They also outlined the CRT Position on Recreational Trails Program Reauthorization. The message from RTP Congressional Championsis to not wait to begin advocacy of RTP in light of announced plans by key Congressional leaders to work on MAP-21’s successor this spring. Read more...


April 2, 2014: Senators support continuation of the Recreational Trails Program

The Coalition for Recreational Trails announces a wonderful opportunity to boost awareness of and support for the Recreational Trails Program within the United States Senate. However, we have to take action by April 9!

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jim Risch (R-ID), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Richard Burr (R-NC) have released a Dear Colleague letter soliciting signatures for a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Ranking Member on the Committee, supporting the continuation of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) in the next surface transportation authorization bill.

See the Dear Colleague request and the planned letter to the EPW leadership (pdf 1.3 mb)


December 20, 2013: FEDERAL AGENCY FUNDING - The Federal Parks & Recreation newsletter reported on the budget agreement in Congress for federal land management and recreation programs. Following are fiscal year 2014 proposals in the Senate and House bills compared to fiscal 2013, but not counting 5.5 percent across-the-board sequestrations in fiscal 2013:

LWCF FEDERAL: Senate draft, $225 million; House subcommittee, zero; fiscal 2013, $186 million.
LWCF STATE: Senate draft, $45 million; House subcommittee, zero; fiscal 2013, $45 million.
STATE WILDLIFE GRANTS: Senate draft, $61.2 million; House subcommittee, zero; fiscal 2013, $61.2 million.
URBAN PARKS AND RECREATION RECOVERY: Senate draft, $10 million; House subcommittee, zero; fiscal 2013, zero.
FOREST LEGACY: Senate draft, $60 million; House subcommittee, zero; fiscal 2013, $53 million.
NPS OPERATIONS: Senate draft, $2.279 billion; House subcommittee, $2.121 billion; fiscal 2013, $2.214 billion.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION: Senate draft, $65.9 million; House subcommittee, $45.3 million; fiscal 2013, $56 million.
NPS CONSTRUCTION: Senate draft, $145 million; House subcommittee, $106 million; fiscal 2013, $131 million.
NPS REC AND PRES: Senate draft, $64.3 million; House subcommittee, $48.5 million; fiscal 2013, $60 million.
NPS HERITAGE AREAS: Senate draft, $21.2 million; House subcommittee, $8 million; fiscal 2013, $9 million. In addition the Senate draft would extend for one year the authorization for 12 national heritage areas. The House subcommittee would not.

FOREST SERVICE RECREATION: Senate draft, $261 million; House subcommittee, $262 million; fiscal 2013, $276 million.
FOREST TRAILS: Senate draft, $81.4 million; House subcommittee, $82.5 million; fiscal 2013, $78.1 million.
BLM RECREATION: Senate draft, $51.8 million. Fiscal 2013, $48.6 million. House not broken out.
WILDLIFE REFUGE SYSTEM: Senate draft, $484 million; fiscal 2013 $478 million. House not broken out.


September 23, 2013: The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) successfully showcased the importance of the federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) in a new, high-visibility venue: The Strategic Plan Online Dialogue of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. CRT members reviewed the DOT’s Draft Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-2018 in early September, 2013, and were very concerned that there was no mention of the RTP within the DOT mission statement, mission- oriented goals or strategic objectives. See details at Coalition for Recreational Trails dominates USDOT strategic planning process


September 17, 2013: Recreational Trails Program - UPDATE - Under Map-21, Governors may choose to opt out of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) has tirelessly pursued strategies to protect the RTP in California and across the nation. As a member of the CRT, American Trails is pleased to tell you that thanks to thousands of supporters across the country helping Governors, state legislators, and agency leaders understand the breath and scope of support for the RTP, the only state in the country that is opting out of the program for FY 2014 is Florida. A big thank you goes out to all the Governors that have recognized the positive benefits of the RTP in their state!


July 23, 2013: ALERT from the Coalition for Recreational Trails: We have learned that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is planning to offer Senate Amendment 1742 to the Transportation Appropriations bill (Senate Bill 1243) to transfer all funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program to pay for bridge repairs insteadThe Transportation Alternatives Program includes all the funding for the Recreational Trails Program, in addition to funding for what used to be known as Transportation Enhancements as well as Safe Routes to School.

Action on the amendment could happen in the very near future.  Please ask your members and grass-roots networks to contact their Senators and ask them to vote NO on Senate Amendment 1742 to Senate Bill 1243.  Information on contacting Senators can be found at

 Also see alerts and ways to take action from:


arrow In his letter Secretary Kelly states that trails are eligible for funding in the proposed Active Transportation Program among 13 project types: "Roadside recreational opportunities, including trails, trailheads, and parks." The project selection criteria, however, make it clear that the emphasis is on urban transportation, bicycle safety, and routes to "schools, mass transit facilities, and community centers." See the proposed Active Transportation Program language (pdf 657 kb)




Governor Brown could eliminate the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) in California! Many of you have spoken, and we are making a difference. But, the Governor needs to keep hearing from recreational trail supporters across the State.

The Governor may choose to opt out of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). American Trails is a member of the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT). The CRT is actively pursuing strategies to protect RTP in California. The first step is to make sure that the Governor understands the breadth and scope of support for RTP. He will be much less likely to opt out of the program if thousands of RTP supporters urge him not to.

As a result, it is imperative that your organization undertake a campaign to urge as many Californians as possible to ask the Governor not to opt out of the program. And, your State Senator and Assembly representative also need to hear this message.



Contact your State Senator:
Locate them and visit their website to find their contact information:


arrow May 15, 2013: The latest threat to survival of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is centered in the state that receives the largest amount of funding. California's Governor Jerry Brown is being advised to "opt out" of the RTP. If this key state turns away the RTP funding, it will weaken our chances of keeping RTP in the 2014 federal transportation bill.

Take action to help save the Recreational Trails Program NOW!

Learn about the RTP issues in California and read the letter to Governor Brown...

Read more about California's Active Transportation proposal


arrow May 1, 2013: After the governors of two states (Kansas and Florida) elected to "opt out" of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), suppoarters have been continuing efforts to keep RTP in the legislative spotlight.

arrow October 18, 2012: 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 amounts of federal dollars on 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. Read more...

arrow September 25, 2012: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released interim guidance documents and Q&A’s regarding implementation of MAP-21. The materials are online at

arrow September 24, 2012: FHWA offers MAP-21 Webinars on September 26 and 27! Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) invites you to participate in informational webinars on the recently enacted MAP-21 surface transportation authorization legislation. Recordings are also available for webinars that have already taken place. The webinars are designed to make you aware of the major changes brought about by MAP-21, and to provide a forum for beginning the national dialog FHWA wishes to have with you on questions and concerns as FHWA works to prepare for the October 1 implementation of these program changes and efficiencies. Click on this link to register. Scroll further down on that page to view and download the presentations and recordings of past webinars.


arrow September 11, 2012: Only two States "opt out" of Recreational Trails Program Funding


arrow July 24, 2012: The surface transportation agreement announced by the Transportation Conference Committee was signed into law, now called MAP-21, July 6, 2012. The Recreational Trails Program is continued intact as the Kloubuchar amendment was retained. However, States may apparently opt out of the entire program. Funding is set at 85 million a year for two years and three months. The $85 million “apportioned” annually to the States for Recreational Trails Program grants will be the same as FY09. See how much your State will receive in RTP funds...

The new authorization bill keeps highway and transit spending at current levels through the end of fiscal year 2014. See the complete MAP-21 bill as signed... (599 pages)

The provisions for RTP are found under Transportation Alternatives:


‘‘(1) obligate an amount of funds reserved under this section equal to the amount of the funds apportioned to the State for fiscal year 2009 under section 104(h)(2) for projects relating to recreational trails under section 206;

‘‘(2) return 1 percent of those funds to the Secretary for the administration of that program; and

‘‘(3) comply with the provisions of the administration of the recreational trails program under section 206, including the use of apportioned funds described under subsection (d)(3)(A) of that section.

‘‘(g) STATE FLEXIBILITY.—A State may opt out of the recreational trails program under subsection (f) if the Governor of the State notifies the Secretary not later than 30 days prior to apportionments being made for any fiscal year.’’

The Federal Highway Administration provided a summary of programs in the MAP-21 law


arrow May 30, 2012: See the most current list of supporters of the Recreational Trails Program with 511 organizations and agencies signed on in support of continued federal funding for trails.



arrow March 19, 2012: The National Association of State Park Directors along with National Recreation and Park Association and the National Association of State Outdoor Recreation Liaison Officers are sending a letter to the members of the Senate and House Interior Appropriations Subcommittees supporting the State Assistance program of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The groups are asking for an allocation of 40% of total LWCF funding to the State Assistance program, the same amount that is provided to the federal land acquisition program, using the same formula that has been successful from FYs 1965-2011. The "stateside" LWCF program has funded many trail projects sponsored by cities and towns over the years. You can provide support from your own organization or community-- read more...


arrow March 20, 2012: After all the rhetoric and amendments and work to support trails in the House and Senate transportation bills, it looks like there will be an extension of the current programs. Today Rep. John Mica (R-FL) said the House won't address the bill passed by the Senate, but will simply extend the funding authorization, possibly until the November elections. The House is in the spotlight on federal transportation funding, following Senate passage of its version of the bill. However, with the current authorization expires on March 31, it's apparent that Congress must now simply extend SAFETEA-LU, as it has done eight times. For trails and bike/ped programs, life would go on as it has since 2009 when the first extension took place. Next stop would be the November elections, with more rhetoric to follow.


arrow March 12, 2012: From National Wildlife Federation: The EPA and NOAA's environmental education-based efforts strive to give educators the knowledge and skill sets to prepare students to understand, analyze, and address environmental challenges using interdisciplinary, field-based, research-based learning. The National Wildlife Federation and Campaign for Environmental Literacy invite you to sign on to two organizational sign-on letters they will send to Congress members to restore dedicated funding for EPA and NOAA's environmental education programs. DEADLINE: MARCH 15th! Read more and learn how to support federal environmental education programs...


arrow February 29, 2012: Senators Mark Udall (D-CO), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Michael Bennett (D–CO) joined Senators Burr (R- NC) , Shaheen (D-NH), and Risch (R-ID) have joined Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) as co-sponsors of the Senate Amendment which would restore dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program. Download a copy of the Klobuchar amendment...

The Senate is expected to re-open debate on amendments proposed for the transportation bill on March 1. Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would allow votes on some of those amendments in an effort to win enough votes to move toward final passage of the bill. Senator Reid, a Democrat, said "Republicans made it clear we would not be able to move forward on this bill without a vote." He added that he hoped the Senate could finish the transportation bill by the end of next week.

Congressional Quarterly, Inc. reported on issues with the House bill in "Short-Term Highway Bill in Doubt"


arrow February 29, 2012: Senators Mark Udall (D-CO), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Michael Bennett (D–CO) joined Senators Burr (R- NC) , Shaheen (D-NH), and Risch (R-ID) have joined Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) as co-sponsors of the Senate Amendment which would restore dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program. Download a copy of the Klobuchar amendment...

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy letter in support of Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s amendment to protect the Recreational Trails Program in the Senate bill was signed by 385 national, regional, statewide, and local organizations. Download the final letter with logos and signing groups... (pdf 4.6 mb)

The Senate is expected to re-open debate on amendments proposed for the transportation bill on March 1. Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would allow votes on some of those amendments in an effort to win enough votes to move toward final passage of the bill. Senator Reid, a Democrat, said "Republicans made it clear we would not be able to move forward on this bill without a vote." He added that he hoped the Senate could finish the transportation bill by the end of next week.

Congressional Quarterly, Inc. reported on issues with the House bill in "Short-Term Highway Bill in Doubt"


arrow February 27, 2012: Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has withdrawn his proposed amendment to end funding for the RTP in the House transportation bill. According to a staff member, the information provided by Coalition for Recreational Trails and other trail interests, both in Washington, DC, and in Iowa, increased both staff and Congressman King’s understanding of the logic behind the RTP program. And while he would still prefer to see the taxes go to projects aiding those paying – in this case motorized, non-highway recreational enthusiasts – the support and logic of the trails community resulted in his decision to withdraw his amendment. He is not considering offering any amendment which would alter the RTP program. Special thanks to Terry Durby, American Trails Board member, who led efforts to convince the Iowa delegation about the trails program.

arrow February 27, 2012: "Gas tax falling short in paying for transportation needs" - By Larry Copeland, USA TODAY

arrow February 24, 2012: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood declared that "Transportation enhancements mean greater safety for all users of America's roads" in his Fast Lane Blog. Promoting President Obama's proposed 2013 budget, he stated "Now, there's also plenty to say about the environmental and health benefits of biking and walking projects; how bicyclists and pedestrians take cars off the road and decrease traffic congestion; and how investments in livable communities with complete streets pay tremendous dividends in economic development." Read more...

arrow February 17, 2012: The Coalition for Recreational Trails reports that our efforts to line up co-sponsors for Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) MAP-21 amendment restoring dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program have met with success. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) asked to be listed as co-sponsors of the amendment, which was filed on February 15th. Since then, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) has signed on as well.

We have learned from Senator Klobuchar’s office that the amendment will not come up for consideration until after February 24th. As a result, the Senator’s office has asked that delivery of the multi-signature letter we sent you last week be delayed to a date closer to the actual consideration of the amendment. Thanks very much to everyone for your efforts to contact your Senators requesting support for the amendment.

arrow February 15, 2012: The President issued a veto threat on the the House transportation bill (HR 7). This morning Speaker Boehner told the Republican Conference that is being pulled from the schedule for this week and will be delayed until after the President’s Day recess. "If we need more time to debate and consider amendments, that's perfectly fine with me," Mr. Boehner said. Some have expressed concern that insufficient political support would cause the House bill to fail. Earlier, President Obama had expressed support for the Senate transportation bill.

Both House and Senate bills have come under attack for their funding mechanisms. The shortfall in federal fuel tax collections is expected to increase. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the shortfall in transportation revenue will reach $14 billion in FY 2012. The House bill would spend $260 billion over five years. The Senate's plan would spend $109 billion on road and transit projects over two years. The President's new budget proposal includes $476 billion surface transportation spending over the next six year.

The FY 2013 President’s Budget requests $4 billion for a Livable Communities Program, which would apparently include bicycle/pedestrian programs: "formula and competitive grant programs to establish place-based planning, policies, and investments to help communities increase transportation choices and access to transportation services." Read more about the Administration's transportation budget proposal...

arrow February 14, 2012: Update from Coalition for Recreational Trails:

All our efforts on behalf of RTP are moving ahead.

  • The multi-signature letter being coordinated by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in support of Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) amendment to protect the RTP in the Senate bill was delivered to Senate offices with a very impressive number of groups on the letter.
  • Senators Burr (R- NC) , Shaheen (D-NH), and Risch (R-ID) have joined Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) as co-sponsors of the Senate Rec Trails Amendment. Download a copy of the Klobuchar amendment...
  • Action alerts are going out right and left.

Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) proposed amendment to end funding for the RTP in the House transportation bill, apparently based on his concern that funds are being used for non-motorized trail use, has stirred up a furor.

  • Our great champions, Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME), are leading a “Dear Colleague” effort to defeat the amendment.
  • We are also hearing that lots of messages are being delivered to Rep. King’s office. A strong letter was sent to him by Terry Durby, member of the Board of American Trails, current President of the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, past President of the Iowa State Snowmobile Association, a founding member of the All Terrain Vehicle Association, and Chair of the Winnebago County Supervisors.

Supporting bike/ped programs in the Senate:

  • A letter was put together by RTC with logos and support from many groups to support the Cardin/Cochran amendment #1549 to MAP- 21, to ensure local access to Transportation Enhancement (TE) and Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funds.
  • Download a copy of the Cardin/Cochran support letter (pdf 2.9 mb)

arrow Two adverse amendments are being proposed to the House Bill, which need to be defeated:

Ask your Representative to vote in OPPOSITION to these amendments:

  • Steve King (R-IA) Amendment #230 ~ It would take all highway trust fund spending away from the Recreational Trails Program!
  • Jeff Flake (R-AZ) Amendment #142 ~ It would, among other things, strike the Alternative Transportation Account, Public Transportation funding, and the Recreational Trails Program!


arrow February 13, 2012: Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has agreed to introduce an amendment to MAP-21 that will continue the RTP as a stand-alone program with its own funding. The amendment is expected to be introduced this week – so the time for action is now.

If this amendment is approved, then the RTP should be protected in both the Senate and House transportation bills. However, for Sen. Klobuchar’s effort to be successful, we must build support for her amendment. READ MORE...


arrow February 10, 2012: In the House, Representative Petri and five colleagues will introduce the TE/SR2S amendment on the House floor next week. A similar amendment almost passed at the H.R. 7 mark up last week. The new amendment will be almost identical to the original version with a slight tweaking of the funding allocation.

In the Senate, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has written a national organizational sign-on letter in support of each of two amendments, one of which would provide dedicated funding for Recreational Trails, and one to improve and clarify funding for TE and SRTS programs. See more about the Senate bill...

arrow February 10, 2012: American Trails and partners in the Coalition for Recreational Trails are urging trail supporters to voice their support for dedicated funding for the both RTP and bike/ped programs. Amendments have been proposed to provide to restore dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program (Senator Klobuchar) and to protect Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School (Senators Cardin and Cochran). Learn how to support these programs now...

arrow February 8, 2012: The Senate is expected to return to work on its version of federal transportation funding legislation. On November 9, 2011, the Environment and Public Works Committee passed its bill "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century" (MAP-21). The bill eliminates dedicated funding for trails and bike/ped projects but maintains eligibilty for Recreational Trails, Enhancements, Scenic Byways, and Safe Routes to School. Advocates are expected to mount a campaign to ensure funding for these programs. Read more...

American Trails and partners in the Coalition for Recreational Trails are urging trail supporters to voice their support for dedicated funding for the RTP. Tell your Senators to support Recreational Trails funding, a user-pay/user-benefit program, in the Senate transportation bill (MAP-21). The CRT Council of Advisors now includes 506 supporting groups. Learn how to support RTP funding now...

arrow February 6, 2012 (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition): On February 7, the Senate Finance Committee will mark up “The Highway Investment, Job Creation and Economic Growth Act of 2012.” This legislation will raise revenue for infrastructure spending, specifically to address a shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund— a purpose for which some have suggested redirecting Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling royalties that currently go toward the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). It is possible that amendments may be offered that will take funding away from LWCF to use for highways. Read more...

arrow February 3, 2012: We do have one victory to celebrate: the transportation bill just passed by the House Transportation Committee includes the Recreational Trails Program with $85 million in annual funding as a discrete program. Rep. John L. Mica, Chairman, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was thanked in a letter from the Coalition for Recreational Trails for including RTP in the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act. Hundreds of local and national trail organizations joined in efforts led by CRT to support funding and authorization for RTP. Read more and keep up to date on future strategies...

See our Blog: Working together: taking the long view of funding...

arrow February 2, 2012: The Petri amendment FAILED on a committee vote. It would have restored dedicated funding for Transportation Enhancements, state bike coordinators, and Safe Routes to School programs, as well as restoring eligibility for rail corridor preservation.

arrow February 1, 2012: On February 2, the House Transportation Committee will vote on the "American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act" (H.R. 7). According to the Rails to Trails Conservancy's analysis, the Recreational Trails Program would be authorized at $85 million, but the Safe Routes to School program would be eliminated along with dedicated funding for Transportation Enhancements. Eligibility for preserving abandoned railway corridors, including trail conversion, is specifically eliminated. See the Safe Routes to School National Partnership site for an easy way to contact your Representative. Read more about the bill and how to make your voice heard...

arrow January 28, 2012: The House transportation committee is expected to on its version of the federal transportation funding bill (H.R. 7) with markup to be webcast live on February 2. Like the Senate bill under discussion, the House version would no longer require states to spend highway funds on non-highway projects and programs such as bicycle/pedestrian facilities. Trail supporters are urged to contact their Members of Congress to support these essential programs. Read more about the proposed bill and key dates...

x January 9, 2012 (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition): The LWCF Coalition is focused on growing co-sponsorship of S. 1265 in the Senate, which amends the LWCF Act of 1965 to provide reliable authority and funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Besides targeting new Senators, supporters are urged to thank current co-sponsors, talk to target Senators about co-sponsoring, or increase positive messages about LWCF to your local and regional House members. See current list of co-sponsors and members to ask to cosponsor S. 1265.

xDecember 11, 2011: Land and Water Conservation Fund news: "A bipartisan effort is now underway to ensure that LWCF funding is preserved in any legislative proposals that address the disposition of OCS revenues. Please lend your support by signing on to the Dear Colleague letter being circulated by Reps. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Charlie Bass (R-NH), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), and Jay Inslee (D-WA). The deadline for sign-on is December 16, 2011." Read more and take action...

arrow December 9, 2011: Congressmen urge passage of six-year transportation funding bill. Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) submitted a letter on behalf of 111 House members — composed of 62 Democrats and 49 Republicans asking the President to support a bill longer than the two-year authorization proposed by the Senate.

arrow December 1, 2011: The long-awaited House version of the transportation funding bill will apparently be delayed until after Congress returns January 17. Rep. John Mica, chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee announced that details of the bill would not be released as planned. An E&E News reporter quoted Rep. Mica as "saying that he would not eliminate the Transportation Enhancements program and that the bill would maintain funding for bike and pedestrian programs." That casts still more uncertainty on the details, and whether Recreational Trails would be included in any actual funding. Read more...

arrow November 9, 2011: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed its rewrite of the federal transportation bill, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century" (MAP-21). The bill consolidates 70 former programs and allows states to choose their own priorities, but eliminates dedicated funding for trails and bike/ped projects. A new "transportation mobility program" includes eligibilty for Recreational Trails, Enhancements, Scenic Byways, and Safe Routes to School, among many other bridge, highway, and environmental programs. Section 149 of USC title 23 would cover "congestion mitigation and air quality improvement" and also includes Recreational Trails eligibility. According to the committee, it also "Reforms the Transportation Enhancements program with more flexibility granted to the states on the use of the funds within the program." Read more...

xOctober 24, 2011: The Senate released their Interior bill discussion draft last Friday and recommended Land and Water Conservation Fund funding level of $350 million. On the House side, the LWCF Coalition has been working with the House Committee on Appropriations to support strong levels of funding for LWCF in FY 12. Read more and see talking points...

x September 8, 2011: Land and Water Conservation Fund attacked on jobs concerns

xThe House FY 2012 federal land management spending bill (HR 2584) will cut some conservation programs, though Park Service and Forest Service appropriations are close to FY 2011 numbers, reports the August 1 bulletin from Federal Parks & Recreation. Read more...

xThe August 1 bulletin from Federal Parks & Recreation newsletter reports that "the full House last week voted three times in favor of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. But by the start of business today House Republicans were still on course to reduce federal acquisition alone by almost $100 million. And provide the state grant program with no money." Read more and learn how to take action...

xJuly 26, 2011: The LWCF Coalition reports that "Congressman Broun (R-GA) has offered an amendment to eliminate all LWCF funding from the Interior Appropriations bill and puts the proceeds into the general deficit reduction account. This is very similar to the Lummis amendment from HR 1 and must be vigorously opposed. Though the timetable is uncertain on a vote/debate of this amendment, the Interior bill will be back on the floor for consideration this evening and we need to be prepared." Broun is a member of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. The LWCF Coalition asks supporters to defend funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the FY12 Interior Appropriations bill. The bill reduces LWCF to only $61.8 million from the authorized level of $900 million per year and is an 80% cut below the $301 million appropriated last year.

arrow July 19, 2011: Senate releases outline of Transportation funding bill: MAP-21 - The outline provides only a broad philosophy, which emphasizes consolidation and allows States to set their own performance targets. According to the outline, "MAP-21 consolidates 87 programs under SAFETEA-LU to less than 30 programs. The activities for which dedicated funding has been removed have been consolidated into the very broad core programs, leaving States with the flexibility to fund these activities as they see fit." Once we have access to the bill, it will be added to the American Trails website...

xJuly 11, 2011: The No Child Left Inside Act (H.R. 2053) will be reintroduced July 14. To learn about what you can do to support their efforts, please join a "No Child Left Inside" Conference Call with Mr. Reed and Mr. Sarbanes on Tuesday July 19 at 3:00pm EST. Sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland and Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI) is designed to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) to include environmental.

xJune 28, 2011: Land and Water Conservation Fund bill (S. 1265) has been reintroduced: "A bill to amend the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 to provide consistent and reliable authority for, and for the funding of, the land and water conservation fund to maximize the effectiveness of the fund for future generations, and for other purposes."

arrow June 21, 2011: Supporters of the Land and Water Conservation Fund are asking for groups and individuals to sign on to a support letter by June 27. The letter is designed to begin a conversation with Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Boehner that hopefully leads to his support of conservation funding in upcoming budget negotiations.

arrow June 2, 2011: Making Public Lands Public Access Act was introduced May 5 by Senator JonTester (MT). Amends the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 to direct the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure, from amounts requested for the Land and Water Conservation Fund per fiscal year, that not less than the greater of 1.5% of the requested amounts or $10 million be made available for certain projects identified on an annual priority list to be developed pursuant to this Act. Requires projects identified on such a list to secure, through rights-of-way or the acquisition of lands or interests from willing sellers, recreational public access to existing federal public lands that have significantly restricted access to hunting, fishing, and other recreational purposes. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

arrow June 1, 2011: Californians: ACT NOW to save trails and bike/ped facilities in the next Transportation Bill

arrow May 25, 2011: A total of 150 members of Congress, including 15 Republicans, signed onto the Dear Colleague Letter! in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This is a historic high for LWCF Dear Colleague letters, and sends a truly strong message to the appropriations committee that the program needs consistent and robust funding in 2012 and beyond. (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition)

arrow May 6, 2011: Seventy-four Members of Congress from both parties agreed to support the Recreational Trails Program in a lettert to the leadership of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The bi-partisan "Dear Colleague" letter asking Members of the House of Representatives to include funding for the Recreational Trails Program is being circulated by Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) in the Transportation Reauthorization Bill. Legislation expected to be produced by both House and Senate in May.

arrow April 29, 2011: Support the Land and Water Conservation Fund! Please reach out to your members of Congress and urge them to sign onto our the Dear Colleague Sign on Letter! It is absolutely essential to get more Representatives signed on than we've ever had before. We have a highly motivated group of Champions working this from the Hill. The spreadsheet has all our most important targets highlighted in yellow! There are check boxes to identify whether they've signed on to past LWCF letters, voted no on the Lummis amendment, or both. (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition)

arrow April 21, 2011: The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is urging support for continued funding for two key programs at the CDC that support the built environment that are proposed for elimination in the FY12 budget The two programs are: $22.7 million for the Healthy Communities Program - this program has provided funding to more than 300 communities to support policy change efforts to reduce chronic disease and obesity-including through physical activity and healthy eating work; and $2.7 million for built environment activities within the National Center for Environmental Health which provides essential national leadership on the impact of the built environment on health. The sign-on deadline is Tuesday, May 3, 2011

arrow April 15, 2011: Congress passes Continuing Appropriations Act with two major recissions of funding for transportation-funded projects (H.R. 1473)

arrow April 12, 2011: Land and Water Conservation Fund: The negotiated FY 11 budget bill for the last 5 months of this fiscal year is expected on the House floor for a vote on April 14. LWCF is funded at $301 million -- a 33% cut from the FY10 enacted. With FY 11 funding levels now set, we will now turn our full attention to the FY 12 budget process and work with Congress to reverse these cuts and support robust and consistent funding that will lead to the fully authorized level of $900 Million.

arrow April 8, 2011: A bi-partisan "Dear Colleague" letter asking Members of the House of Representatives to include funding for the Recreational Trails Program is being circulated by Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) in the Transportation Reauthorization Bill now being written by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Action is needed by April 14, 2011: ask your Member of the House of Representatives to sign on to Rep. Petri’s and Michaud’s letter supporting continuation of RTP. And, please join 499 groups and agencies who are supporting RTP at this crucial time.

arrow March 29, 2011: The Land and Water Conservation Fund urgently needs your support to ensure strong and consistent funding for the next Continuing Resolution (CR’s)- being negotiated this week and up until April 8th.

arrowMarch 7, 2011: The House version of the Continuing Resolution cuts LWCF by 90% from the proposed FY 11 levels and by 87% from FY 10 enacted levels. The Senate version of the bill reduces LWCF overall by 27 % from the FY 11 budget proposal and by 17% from FY 10 enacted levels. While the Senate version sets us back from our push towards full funding, it is clearly better than the provisions of HR 1. Neither HR 1 nor the Senate substitute are expected to be the final bill approved, but on Tuesday those are the two choices available.See more news and details on LWCF...

arrow February 28, 2011: National field hearings and listening sessions on future surface transportation needs were held in February by the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The CRT letters had almost 500 signatories and documented the results of the program nationally and in each Member’s state.

arrow February 19, 2011: House lawmakers voted to cut more than $60 billion, from 2010 levels, in spending for federal programs and agencies for the rest of FY2011. The House vote was 235-189 to send the so-called continuing resolution to the Senate. However, with government funding set to expire March 4, 2011, the Senate will only have five days to work on the funding bill after returning from the Presidents Day recess on Feb. 28. As a result, both Democrats and Republicans are working on short-term extensions to avoid a government shutdown.

arrow February 16, 2011: President Obama announced his plan for next year's budget (FY2012): As part of the America's Great Outdoors initiative, the Administration's Budget request for both Interior and the U.S. Forest Service totals $900 million for LWCF, the full amount of revenue generated each year from oil and gas development that is dedicated for land acquisition and conservation. Interior's 2012 Budget includes $375.0 million for Federal land acquisition and $200 million for an expanded LWCF State grants program.

arrow February 16, 2011 - By a vote of 216 to 213, Rep. Lummis (R-WY) amendment to zero out LWCF in H.R. 1 was DEFEATED on the House floor this evening. 33 Republicans joined Democrats in defeating the amendment. H.R. 1 still makes drastic cuts to LWCF, but at least the Program has not been totally defunded. For additional information, visit the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition.

arrow February 10, 2011: The new continuing resolution will contain $100 billion in cuts from Obama’s budget. The measure, which funds government operations including transportation, is essential to keeping federal programs running temporarily, will be released on Friday, and is still set to hit the House floor next week. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised that the cuts put forth by the GOP will be the largest in congressional history.

arrow February 3, 2011: With the current federal budget debate, the mounting deficit, and proposed cuts to spending on every aspect of national programs, every program we rely on could be cut or eliminated. This means Transportation Enhancements, Recreational Trails Program, and Safe Routes to School could all disappear.

arrow January 28, 2011: According to a Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation article, "The idea that bicycle and pedestrian funding-- rather than general overall cuts to federal transportation spending-- might be specifically targeted is realistic given that a few members of the House, like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, have repeatedly called for bicycle & pedestrian funding to be cut or eliminated." Read about past history of bicycle and pedestrian cuts proposed in federal budget.

arrow January 18, 2011: "There are no Republican or Democratic roads. There are no Republican or Democratic bridges," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Speaking at a transportation technology conference, LaHood expressed confidence that Congress would pass a multiyear bill to reauthorize the federal surface transportation programs.

arrow December 28, 2010: Proposed House rules could reduce funds available through SAFETEA-LU, including trails and bike/ped programs. "This proposal simply ensures we won’t be required to spend more on transportation projects than we take in. At the same time, it protects the Highway Trust Fund by ensuring every penny of the gas tax is spent on highway and transit projects, rather than diverted to pay for other items that we simply cannot afford," said Brendan Buck, spokesman for the Republican transition team. Current rules require annual spending increases as set in SAFETEA-LU, regardless of how much revenue was collected from fuel tax. Congress has had to appropriate a total of $35 billion to cover the shortfall. See "House Republicans Release Proposed 112th Congress Rules Package"...

arrow December 22, 2010: A day after introducing the America’s Great Outdoors Act, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid cancelled his effort to pass the 110-bill Omnibus legislation this year. The Senator's spokeswoman Regan Lachapelle said that "Sen. Reid is working with the chairmen of the relevant committees to see if smaller sections of the bill might be able to pass on their own." Senate Republicans had asked for more time for review the many unrelated program authorizations.

arrow December 21, 2010: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced S. 303, "America's Great Outdoors Act of 2010," a package of 110 individual bills that authorizes $18 billion over 10 years for federal lands, agencies, and programs. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition believes the Act "guarantees that LWCF will be available in the future while leaving specific decisions regarding funding levels and project needs to future Congresses." Habitat conservation, new national monuments, and Wilderness area designation are just a few of the many authorizations.

arrow Dec. 16: H.R. 6426, the Moving Outdoors in Nature Act (MONA) was introduced by Rep. Ronald Kind (D-WI). It would fund $165 million over three years to “authorize the Secretary of the Interior to carry out programs and activities for connecting children and families with the outdoors.” Trails, hunting, conservation education, and outdoor recreation are mentioned as being eligible for competitive grants or cooperative agreements. The bill has been referred to two House committees: Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce.

arrow Dec. 1: "The future of trails in federal transportation funding" was the topic of a kenote address at the American Trails National Symposium by Eric B. Beightel, U. S. Department of Transportation Office of Transportation Policy. He stated that "Active transportation projects could be in a position to increase their funding levels under a new bill if they are able to effectively make their case as cost-effective transportation investments. The new performance-based, outcome-driven authorization will give preference to those projects that are able to prove their value to the taxpayer. This is good news for trails."

xOctober 14: Trail advocates urged to sign petition to support trails as part of federal transportation funding. Rails to Trails Conservancy supports flexibility to use the Highway Trust Fund to develop a healthy mix of transportation choices including trails.

xSeptember 1: The US Senate still needs to approve LWCF funding for parks, open space, and trails. On July 30, 2010 full and dedicated funding at $900 million for the Land & Water Conservation Fund passed in the US House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the Senate will consider similar legislation in September when it returns from the August district work period.

xAugust 3: Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs reported favorably S.1619, The Livable Communities Act. It would create a new HUD office and authorizes two competitive grant programs which would be contingent on future appropriations. The Challenge Grant Program authorizes $2.2 billion over three years for projects such as public transportation improvements, support for transit-oriented development, pedestrian and bicycle enhancements, the preservation and creation of affordable housing, and to promote economic development. Eligible projects include transit facilities, structured parking, environmental remediation activities, sidewalks and bikeways.

xJuly 29: The House passed its fiscal 2011 Transportation appropriations bill. In March 2010, $20 billion was transferred from the general fund to cover the Highway Trust Fund shortfall. That funding is projected to support the current funding levels through August 2011. According to "Roads & Bridges," the appropriations bill does not solve the underlying problem of the revenue shortage in the Highway Trust Fund. The highway and transit programs are currently operating under a short-term authorization that expires on Dec. 30. If a long-term reauthorization measure is not enacted by that date, Congress must again approve a short-term extension to avoid a shutdown in highway and transit funding.

xJuly 19: The National Recreation & Parks Association asks for your support for Land and Water Conservation Fund State Assistance funding. In the House, the Consolidated Land Energy and Aquatic Resources Act (HR 3534) was passed out of committee earlier this week with a provision specifying full and dedicated funding ($900 million annually) for the LWCF.

arrow July 14: A letter from the Coalition for Recreation Trails includes support from 348 trail and recreation organizations and asks Secretary LaHood to "join Americans across the country in supporting the Recreational Trails Program as part of the new federal transportation bill." The letter emphasizes that "trails are an investment in the future of our communities and our public lands, while connecting people of all ages and backgrounds to the environment." (Download letter in pdf format, 168 kb).

arrow June 28: Every trail organization can help expand support for continued funding for trails, greenways, and recreation routes through the federal Recreational Trails Program. Just think, what would happen in your state if RTP disappeared? So we are asking the Council of Advisors to recruit additional RTP supporters. Read how you can join us in support of RTP...

arrow May 2: The National Recreation and Park Association reports that the President’s budget calls for $50 million in funding for Land & Water Conservation Fund State Assistance Program in FY 11, which is a $10 million increase over the amount appropriated in FY 10. Read more background on the need for LWCF Stateside funding...

arrow May 1: National Recreation and Park Association highlights "Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program." This new grant program is expected to offer opportunities and funding for parks and recreation. It will span urban to rural boundaries where parks, trails, and public open space are expected to be key components in plans developed by the regional partnerships that will be formed to apply for the grants.

arrow April 16: President Obama's remarks at America's Great Outdoors Conference. "First, we’re going to build on successful conservation efforts being spearheaded outside of Washington-- by local and state governments, by tribes, and by private groups," Obama said. "Secondly, we’re going to help farmers, ranchers, property owners who want to protect their lands... Third, we’ll help families spend more time outdoors, building on what the First Lady has done through the “Let’s Move” initiative... And fourth, we want to foster a new generation of community and urban parks." Read the full text of the President's speech...

arrow April 16: White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors held to discuss working together to conserve America's precious land resources and to encourage people to get outdoors and reconnect to the land.

arrow March 22: The Highway Trust Fund was extended through the end of 2010 as part of the new jobs bill. US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood stated that "we need lawmakers and experts to think creatively about how we're going to fund our transportation infrastructure in the 21st century."

arrow March 22: When President Obama signed the jobs bill into law, he also extended the Highway Trust Fund through the end of 2010. US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood stated that "we need lawmakers and experts to think creatively about how we're going to fund our transportation infrastructure in the 21st century."

arrow March 15: "This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized," said US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to a League of American Bicyclists conference. "We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects." Sec. LaHood also announced key recommendations for state DOTs and communities:

  • Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.
  • Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Go beyond minimum design standards.
  • Collect data on walking and biking trips.
  • Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling.
  • Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)
  • Improve non-motorized facilities during maintenance projects.

arrow March 13, 2010: The web team at our Federal Highway Administration has created an interactive map of the U.S. that shows every single one of the 12,000+ Recovery Act road projects.

arrow March 8: National Recreation & Park Association provides analysis of proposed 2011 federal budget which would increase funding for key programs and a number of new initiatives that positively impact parks and recreation. This means that the advocacy efforts of NRPA are working and the Obama Administration is realizing the need to invest in c1ose-to-home access to outdoor recreation, public lands, and programs promoting livable communities and youth development. While the President's budget numbers signal a renewed interest in parks and recreation, funding for park and recreation programs has steadily declined over the past decade, and as a result, the National Park Service reports more than $12 billion in unmet needs relative to outdoor recreation resources. Now more than ever, advocates must convince Congress that an even greater investment in parks and recreation is needed in order to build healthy, sustainable communities.

arrow March 5: US Department of Health and Human Services announces the availability of new $10 million Recovery Act Funds for Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative. National public or private non-profit organizations can compete for up to $1.5 million in cooperative agreement support to: * Share expertise with select CPPW communities across the nation; * Foster a national prevention movement by spearheading new changes through their affiliate networks; and * Enhance consumer education and awareness prevention by expanding the CPPW media campaign.

arrow March 3: SAFETEA-LU expired on September 30, 2009. Extension #4 is extended through March 28, 2010. Surface Transportation Authorization discussions continue.


(a) In General- Except as provided in subsection (b), for purposes of the continued extension of surface transportation programs and related authority to make expenditures from the Highway Trust Fund and other trust funds under sections 157 through 162 of the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2010 (Public Law 111-68; 123 Stat. 2050), the date specified in section 106(3) of that resolution (Public Law 111-68; 123 Stat. 2045) shall be deemed to be March 28, 2010.

(b) Exception- Subsection (a) shall not apply if an extension of the programs and authorities described in that subsection for a longer term than the extension contained in the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2010 (Public Law 111-68; 123 Stat. 2050), is enacted before the date of enactment of this Act.

arrow March 3: U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) introduced H.R. 4722, the Active Community Transportation Act of 2010 in the House. The bill calls for the creation of an active transportation fund, authorized at $2 billion over five years, to fund community investment in walking and bicycling networks to shift short driving trips to active transportation.The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy wants you to encourage your U.S. representative to co-sponsor the legislation now! March 11 is Virtual Lobby Day for the Act

arrowFebruary 26: The Coalition for Recreational Trails, a federation of national and regional trail-related organizations, is pleased to announce its 2010 achievement awards to recognize outstanding trail projects funded by the national Recreational Trails Program

arrow Feb. 20: Senate Jobs Bill includes 3% set-aside for Transportation Enhancements, and 100% federal match for funding, according to In December, the House approved a $154 billion jobs package, which included tax breaks, infrastructure spending and unemployment benefits. The Jobs for Main Street Act of 2010 was approved in the House by a close vote of 217-212, but the White House has not given its support and the Senate has chosen not to take up that bill. The House bill would provide $37.3 billion for transportation programs, including $27.5 billion for highways.

arrow February 17: US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced awards to states, tribal governments, cities, counties and transit agencies for 51 transportation projects through the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants. Projects funded with the $1.5 billion allocated in the Recovery Act include improvements to freight rail, bus and rail transit, passenger facilities, freeways and parkways, and piers and unloading facilities. Along with some intermodal facilities and bridges accomodating bikes and pedestrians, two non-motorized transportation projects were funded. The Indianapolis Bicycle & Pedestrian Network (IN) received $20,500,000 to "complete the eight-mile urban bicycle and pedestrian network in the heart of downtown Indianapolis," and the Philadelphia Area Pedestrian & Bicycle Network (PA, NJ) received $23,000,000 to "repair, reconstruct and improve 16.3 miles of pedestrian and bicycle facilities."

arrow Feb. 10: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced that the proposed $79 billion fiscal year 2011 budget for the Department of Transportation includes continued investments in transportation infrastructure and livable communities, among other agency priorities.

arrow January 13, 2010: Secretary of Transportation: "people want the opportunity to leave their cars behind". In a dramatic change from existing policy, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood proposed that new funding guidelines for major transit projects be based on livability issues such as economic development opportunities and environmental benefits

arrowDec. 19, 2009: The House and Senate have both passed extensions of SAFETEA-LU transportation funding. The Senate gave existing highway funding programs a two-month reprieve today when it approved a Defense Department appropriations bill 88-12. Included in the defense bill is a continuing resolution that allows the government to disburse money under the terms of the 2005 surface transportation act known as SAFETEA-LU. The Senate extended the law until Feb. 28, 2010. The extension gives the Senate time to consider a jobs bill that also cleared the House on December 16. The bill directs $75 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), with two-thirds of the total going to the Department of Transportation for infrastructure programs.

arrow December 17, 2009: The House jobs bill (H.R. 2847) includes $27.5 billion going to highways proposes a 3 percent set-aside for transportation enhancements (TE), totaling $800 million.

arrow November 24: A bill introduced (S. 2747) would fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million a year.

arrow Nov. 7: 2010 Interior Environment and related agencies appropriations bill (HR 2996) provides increased funding for conservation programs, from Trust for Public Land

arrow Nov. 6: Funding increase for Federal recreation programs including trails passed by Congress. For the Forest Service, trail maintenance is up by $14,746,000 over the 2009 budget. Trail construction, however, is down $10,380,000 due to the large increase in 2009 for Forest Service ARRA economic stimulus projects. BLM recreation and construction budgets are up significatly.

arrow Oct.12: CDC releases application for $ millions in prevention funding federal health grants can fund bike/ped programs; ARRA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grants total $500 million

arrowThe "committee print" of the new Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009 is available in pdf format (1.3 mb)


Funding for trails in an era of economic challenge: opinions and proposals

What's next for transportation and parks funding? Will Congress see trails as investments in health and transportation? Pam Gluck, Executive Director of American Trails, notes that "These are exciting times— but they are full of challenge for trails."

Bills in Congress affecting trails and greenways

Fiscal stimulus: "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act"

Federal Highway Administration links to economic stimulus issues:

Forest Service Economic Recovery pages:

News and opinions on the ARRA "economic recovery" funding:

Land & Water Conservation Fund

See more information on LWCF: Current issues, background, and resources

Budget bills and funding for public lands and trails

Getting trails and greenways in the sights of the Obama Administration

Supporters of trails and bike/ped facilities are watching the new Administration roll out programs and promises. At the same time we see new lows in the stock market, fuel tax receipts, employment figures, and state income. How will funding for trails fare in this challenging environment? People are talking about possibilities:

RESOURCES from agencies and organizations is being updated regularly:


USDA Forest Service

Department of Interior -

Access Board -

America Bikes Coalition -

American Horse Council -

Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals -

Coalition for Recreational Trails -

National and Community Service / Americorps Funding

National Center for Bicycling & Walking -

National Parks Conservation Association: take action -

National Recreation and Park Association -

League of American Bicyclists -

National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse

Rails to Trails Conservancy -

Safe Routes to School


Your comments and suggestions

arrow Also see Planning for reauthorization of federal transportation funding


Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008 (S.22)

Rail banking and rails to trails legislation

Funding for NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program


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