Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Highlights

Every year hundreds of projects across the country use Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funding to complete new projects and improve existing infrastructure. These are two recent highlights of how those funds are being used on the ground.

by Taylor Goodrich, Communication and Media Specialist, American Trails


The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The RTP provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and nonmotorized recreational trail uses.

These new educational exhibits will officially be dedicated by the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association (CRATA) on November 21, 2019.

These new educational exhibits will officially be dedicated by the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association (CRATA) on November 21, 2019.

Smith Mountain Educational Displays

The Smith Mountain Fire Tower And Trails outside of Dadeville, Alabama installed new educational exhibits in the spring of 2019 thanks in part to Recreational Trail Program funds, distributed through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

Even before their official dedication this November the new displays have garnered attention. The Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association (CRATA) is the organization behind these new displays. CRATA president Jerry Bynum has noted that those who have seen the displays have highly regarded them, and CRATA is now being invited to conferences to speak about them.

The large educational displays provide visitors with a wealth of information on a variety of subjects, including the natural history and geology of the area, as well as the current wildlife and flora found in the area. By using less text alongside plenty of photographs and graphics the displays are able to be extremely visually stimulating to visitors.

St. Albans City Park Nature Trail

St. Albans City Park Nature Trail

St. Albans City Park Nature Trail Improvements

In St. Albans, West Virginia the city recently rededicated their City Park Nature Trail after improvements made using Recreational Trails Program funding. The trail received numerous upgrades which included refacing the entire trail with stone, and in some cases completely rebuilding old sections by re-cutting them and making them easier to traverse. Additionally two bridges were replaced on the trail.

The trail was originally dedicated in 1984, and other than routine maintenance these are the first large scale improvements since that time. According to the WV Gazette Mail, "The St. Albans City Park Nature Trail is used throughout the year for regular and special events, such as guided group hikes, the yearly “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” Spring Nature Hike each April and a Haunted Trail open for terror-inducing tours during the Halloween season in October.

The park and hiking trails are open to the public from daylight to dark daily."

About the Author

Taylor Goodrich started with American Trails in January 2018 as Communication and Media Specialist. Taylor currently lives in Dallas, Texas, which is also where she grew up and where she attended the University of North Texas receiving her degree in History. While in college she started doing freelance work editing and writing, and also got into graphic design and discovered she loves the creativity and craft of digital arts. After college she traveled quite a bit, and lived in both the Pacific Northwest and in New Mexico, and while in both of those places took full advantage of what the outdoors had to offer. After moving back to Texas she started moving towards doing graphic design, social media, and communications work full time, and she has contracted with several companies from tech startups, to music festivals, to law firms, to grow their social media and digital communications presence. Taylor loves hiking and kayaking especially, and is glad to be working with an organization that fights for further accessibility and stewardship of our nation’s trails. She feels very lucky that in this position she will be able to use her professional skills and passion for something she is also very personally passionate about, and in helping to grow American Trails.

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