2023 Trails Capacity Program Awardees Announced

The Trails Capacity Program administered by American Trails receives $75K in 2022 end-of-year funding for trail stewardship from Bronco Wild Fund.

American Trails is excited to award funding to seven more trails projects in early 2023 as an extension of our 2022 Trails Capacity Program. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Bronco Wild Fund to support trail stewardship, research, and training projects across America. "These projects in the Northeast, Midwest and West were selected based on their excellent project applications, relevant, high-impact work, and representation of areas of the country that we were not able to support in 2022," says Cathy Corlett, Trail Fund Director at American Trails.

As of March 2023 we are proud to have awarded over one hundred and twenty thousand dollars of support to a total of fourteen trails projects in North America. Explore these projects in greater detail on our interactive map.

The Trails Capacity Program, originally called The Trail Fund, was started in 2022 with the generous support of Ford Motor Company. We hope to grow this fund to support many more trail projects that improve the capacity of the trails’ community in the coming years. To support the Trails Capacity Program please visit our website at https://www.americantrails.org/the-trail-fund-sponsorship-opportunities

Support from Bronco Wild Fund, a Ford Motor Company program, will unlock additional funds and allow many projects to move forward. “In an effort to keep the great outdoors, great, Bronco Wild Fund collaborates with organizations that help protect and preserve public lands,” said Kelsey Gerken, Ford Cause Marketing & Bronco Off-Roadeo manager. “Our collaboration with American Trails is a great example of working together to make direct impact through community projects to promote outdoor recreation and responsible access for all.”

2023 Trails Capacity Program Awardees

These funded projects will assist the trails community to support trails stewardship, research, and training needs across America.

Click on the red stars to see more details about projects funded in 2023 on our Interactive Map.

Project Name: Keep Emma, Emma (WI)
Category: Maintenance, Stewardship training
Applicant: Wisconsin Interscholastic Cycling League, Teen Trail Corps
Project Location: Kettle Moraine State Forest - Palmyra, WI
Amount Awarded: $5,000
Matching Funds: $5,000
Project Synopsis: This project shall re-establish exciting trails and drive community support. The focus of the effort is the Emma Carlin Trails located within the Kettle Moraine State Forest. This project will instill stewardship and responsibility while creating an enduring culture of trail support. Experienced crew and NICA student athlete volunteers shall repair the existing trails for mountain bikers, hikers, winter sports enthusiasts and support personnel. Through the NICA Teen Trail Corps program, coaches and student athletes will participate in this project giving emphasis to the Tenants of TTC including Ride, Respect, Speak and Serve. Twenty miles of emergency routes and 15 miles of single track shall be re-cleared providing safe trail access. Training for trail work, tool use and respectful land use shall inspire generations to become trail stewards.

Project Name: Northern Region New Jersey State Parks Trail Maintenance (NJ)
Category: Maintenance
Applicant: New York-New Jersey Trail Conference (NYNJTC)
Project Location: Mahwah NJ
Amount Awarded: $15,000
Matching Funds: $15,000

Project Synopsis: Funds will support crucial trail maintenance performed by Trail Conference volunteer trail maintainers across 676.5 miles of established non-motorized multi-use trails. These trail maintenance activities effectively accomplish essential maintenance goals in addition to educating new volunteer trail maintainers and providing enhanced skills for seasoned volunteers. Maintenance and restoration will incorporate sustainability protocols to fortify tread longevity and protect our valued trails for future generations.

Project Name: Improved Access Restoration of the Bird Trail (ME)
Category: Maintenance, Stewardship training
Applicant: Scarborough Land Trust
Project Location: Scarborough, Maine
Amount Awarded: $12,500
Matching Funds: $24,000

Project Synopsis: The Bird Trail at Fuller Farm is one of our oldest and most-used trails, and infrastructure has reached the end of its lifespan, rendering the trail impassable during high water and causing ecosystem damage. We will use this opportunity to restore 1 mile of trail with improved accessibility by replacing spent infrastructure with more durable materials, adding more bridging where needed, and building wider, more stable bog bridges to accommodate visitors with balance and mobility needs, reaching more people than ever. Staff, Lead Stewardship and Trail Crew volunteers will be attending a weekend Trailbuilder planning and construction training with Jed Talbot of Off the Beaten Path Trailworks. That way we will be prepared to train future trail crew volunteers, include high school and scout groups, as well as outing groups that are specifically designated for under-served and marginalized people.

Project Name: Goat Hill Accessible Trail (ME)
Category: Maintenance
Applicant: Three Rivers Land Trust
Project Location: Alfred, ME
Amount Awarded: $10,000
Matching Funds: $99,400

Project Synopsis: Three Rivers Land Trust, in partnership with the Town of Acton, is renovating a 0.8-mile trail to the summit of Goat Hill in Acton, Maine. The trail climbs 151-ft to a beautiful pine-crowned summit with views of lakes, orchards, hills, and even NH's Presidential Range in the distance. Despite the steep and rocky terrain, Three Rivers intent with this renovation is to reach US Forest Service trail accessibility guidelines along the entire length and create an accessible picnic area at the summit. Visitors of all abilities would then have the opportunity to make this unique ascent.

Project Name: Trail Stewardship Program (ID)
Category: Maintenance
Applicant: Sawtooth Society
Project Location: Near Stanley, ID
Amount Awarded: $10,000
Matching Funds: $73,000

Project Synopsis: The Trail Stewardship Program facilitates volunteer projects which will accomplish early season road access and annual trail maintenance across the entire Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) around Stanley, Idaho. Sawtooth Society staff will recruit and train volunteers to perform trail maintenance using traditional tools in both front-country and backcountry settings. For the 2022 season, the Forest Service has assigned the program over 150 miles of trails and access roads.

Project Name: Revitalizing the New Hope-Iola Ski Hill Segment of the Ice Age Trail (WI)
Category: Maintenance, Stewardship training
Applicant: Ice Age Trail Alliance
Project Location: Central Wisconsin
Amount Awarded: $8,000.
Matching Funds: $88,600.

Project Synopsis: The New Hope-Iola Ski Hill Segment of the Ice Age Trail is a 5.6-mile stretch of trail in Central Wisconsin. In the Summer of 2022, the Ice Age Trail Alliance will reroute 1.5-miles of trail including the construction of a boardwalk, a bridge, and a stone staircase to eliminate a conflict of use issue between skier and hikers. Additionally, within this same segment, a defunct boardwalk will be replaced with a new elevated boardwalk allowing for the reopening of 1.6-miles of trail that has been closed for two years. These updates will improve trail access and safety and better highlight the landscape shaped by glaciers thousands of years ago. To complete this work, the Alliance will host multiple volunteer events of varying scope and size engaging approximately 220 volunteers.

Project Name: Corpsmember Trail Training (CO)
Category: Stewardship training
Applicant: Mile High Youth Corps
Project Locations: Near Evergreen CO and Trinidad, CO
Amount Awarded: $11,000.
Matching Funds: $3,900.

Project Synopsis: The Corpsmember Trail Training project will provide 116 young adults with the trail maintenance, leadership, and safety skills necessary to effectively care for Colorado's natural resources. These skills will be utilized as they participate in Mile High Youth Corps’ Land Conservation program by providing outdoor stewardship services across Colorado. Stewardship will include trail building and maintenance, fire and flood mitigation, habitat restoration, and the removal of invasive plant species.

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