An overview of the federal Recreational Trails Program
New federal funding for trails, greenways, parks, and bike/ped projects, FY05-09
Federal Surface Transportation Programs
and Transportation Planning for Federal
Land Management Agencies—A Guidebook
The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses. Examples of trail uses include hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving, or using other off-road motorized vehicles.
Authorized Funding - SAFETEA-LU Sec. 1101(a)(8)
FY 2005: $60 million
FY 2006: $70 million
FY 2007: $75 million
FY 2008: $80 million
FY 2009: $85 million
Subtotal: $370 million
Under 23 U.S.C. 206(d)(2), eligible projects include:
Where to Apply
Contact the State agency responsible for the RTP. See contact information for State trails program administrators at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rectrails/rtpstate.htm.
Each State has its own process to solicit and select projects. States may make grants to private organizations, or to municipal, county, State, Tribal, or Federal government agencies. Some States require applications to come through a State or local government agency. Some States do not provide funds to private organizations. States are encouraged to enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with qualified youth conservation or service corps. See http://www.corpsnetwork.org.
Half of the funds are distributed equally among all States, and half are distributed in proportion to the estimated amount of off-road recreational fuel use in each State: fuel used for off-road recreation by snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-road motorcycles, and off-road light trucks. See http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rectrails/recfunds.htm.
The RTP is an 80 percent Federal share, with sliding scale for States with large proportions of Federal lands (see the sliding scale rates at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4540-12.htm.
Federal agency project sponsors may provide additional Federal share up to 95 percent. Funds from other Federal programs may match RTP funds. RTP funds may match other Federal funds. States may allow a programmatic Federal share. Some States require a 50-percent non-RTP match. See http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rectrails/legislation.htm#fedshare.
FLMAs may provide the non-RTP share for projects on Federal or Indian lands using FLHP and/or FLMA appropriated funds.
States must use at least 40 percent of the RTP funds for diverse trail use, 30 percent for motorized use, and 30 percent for nonmotorized use. (Diverse may include diverse motorized, diverse nonmotorized, and diverse mixed motorized and nonmotorized.) RTP funds are intended for recreational trails, and may not be used to improve roads for general passenger-vehicle use. Projects may be on public or private land; projects on private land must provide written assurances of public access.
RTP funds may not be used for:
See project examples in the RTP database at http://www.funoutdoors.info/rtphome.html
See the RTP website at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rectrails/
Download the full 111-page booklet (PDF 1.8 mb)
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Updated January 1, 2008