This award goes to the Recreational Trails Program administered by the Division of Highways of the West Virginia Department of Transportation.
For 20 years, the state’s RTP program has been staffed by personnel who backpacked, rode mountain bikes, utilized kayaks, and hunted and fished in their personal lives.
This extensive outdoor experience, combined with long-term experience in state government, has ensured a high level of project knowledge and administrative expertise as well as credibility for the program management that simple bureaucratic administration would not provide.
The program has provided funding for a wide variety of trail projects and users -- hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, OHV enthusiasts, people with disabilities, and more --supporting high-profile and smaller projects alike. They have also recently expanded the program to include specially designated water trails.
The RTP is the only source of dedicated trail funds in West Virginia. This reality causes the staff to view issues with a truly state-wide perspective and a consciousness of where the timely investment of funding can make a critical difference.
In addition, the Transportation Enhancement/ Alternatives staff and the RTP personnel work in the same administrative unit, and actually work on projects from both programs, leading to a synergy that allows both programs to boost eligible trail projects with an infusion of funding to ensure that valuable projects that contribute to the state trail infrastructure get the necessary support to sustain their development.
Accepting the award for the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways were Bill Robinson, State Trail Coordinator and Grant Administration Unit Manager, and Ryan Burns, Program Manager for the Recreational Trails Program and the Safe Routes to Schools Program.