The Coalition for Recreational Trails members are very pleased to recognize the Tennessee Greenways and Trails Program for outstanding use of RTP funds for a state trails program.
The Coalition for Recreational Trails developed several very specific criteria for this award and the Tennessee program meets them exceptionally well. To start, it manages Recreational Trails Program projects and grants effectively, ensuring a high rate of obligation of Federal-aid funds.
This selection must have posed a challenge for the NASPD awards committee, with so much good work being done at the state level. The program we honor today, though, at NASPD’s recommendation, is the Recreational Trails Program administered by the Recreation Educational Services Division of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
CRT developed several very specific criteria for this award and the Tennessee program meets them exceptionally well. To start, it manages RTP projects and grants effectively, ensuring a high rate of obligation of Federal-aid funds. With applications due last October, Tennessee had already awarded the first six months of RTP funding for the 2012 federal fiscal year at the time its nomination was submitted in early April.
To support all trails interests fairly in administration of its programs and policies, Tennessee has a 15-member RTP Advisory Committee that meets quarterly and was recognized with the CRT’s national award in 2010. In addition, the Tennessee Greenways and Trails Coordinator works effectively with all types of trail user groups and local, state and federal agencies in the promotion and development of trails across the state.
Demonstrating excellence in financial accountability, Tennessee works closely with the Tennessee Division office of the Federal Highway Administration to obligate the RTP funds and then get them under state contract with the project grantees. RTP grantees can submit reimbursements quarterly and the state pays the grantees promptly. These state-paid reimbursements are then bundled together and submitted in batches to the FHWA office to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the payment process. A two-year program report for the RTP is prepared for the State Legislature.
Administrative and educational RTP funds are also used effectively. RTP Administration funds are used to fund the Advisory Committee expenses, staff salaries for grant administration purposes, and to hold the statewide bi-annual Tennessee Greenways and Trails Forum. Educational funds are used to support the Forum, obtain publications such as the Pathways for Trail Building booklet, and make bulk purchases of other key trail resources to use with trail construction workshops across the state, including a planned, by-invitation-only Trail Master Training Course.
To communicate with all trail, environmental, and outdoor interests, the state uses a variety of media and methods. The Tennessee Greenways and Trails website, Connect with Tennessee is the primary method to inform trail users about the many trails across the state of Tennessee. An e-newsletter goes out monthly with articles and events of interest to the trails community and a Facebook page has also been developed.
2013: West Virginia