National Park Service − Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program

This publication is designed to inform the reader about the services provided by the National Park Service – Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

by National Park Service

The National Park Service, through the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program (NPS-RTCA), has supported locally-led conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the United States for more than 30 years. NPS-RTCA assists communities in developing or restoring parks, conservation areas, rivers, and wildlife habitats, as well as creating outdoor recreation opportunities and programs that engage future generations in the outdoors. Through an annual application process, community groups, nonprofit organizations, tribal governments, national parks, and local, state, and federal agencies can apply for NPS-RTCA technical assistance.

Following the introduction, pages 4-11 provide a general overview of what we strive to achieve in implementing conservation and outdoor recreation projects, no matter the project type or geographic location.

The following sections highlight the areas in which NPS-RTCA provides assistance. Each focus area features conservation and outdoor recreation projects that we have worked on in the past. These examples help demonstrate how NPS-RTCA collaborates with communities and land managers. The projects we highlight are organized into these five categories:

1 . Building Healthy Communities

2 . Conserving Lands and Waters

3 . Developing Organizational Capacity

4 . Supporting Public Land Management Collaboration

5 . Engaging Youth

The last section of the publication highlights our Groundwork program. Groundwork is a long-term public-private partnership that furthers the National Park Service mission of providing conservation and outdoor recreation opportunities to communities underserved by parks and natural areas.

About the Author


The National Park Service (NPS) was created in 1916 and today manages over 390 units found in all 50 states and some of the U.S. territories. NPS supports and operates trails in three interlocking arenas: trails in parks, technical assistance to States and communities, and administration of much of the National Trails System.

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