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.
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.
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."
The Trail Challenge is a “call to action” for all of us to work together to achieve a sustainable trail system by increasing our collective capacity to care for trails and by increasing on-the-ground results through shared stewardship of trails.
On behalf of the thousands of diverse trail users our collective organizations represent, we urge appropriators to adequately invest in our nation’s trails.
The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) calls on all trail organizations and trail enthusiasts to take action immediately to continue and to expand the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), the national trails assistance program that aids all trail activities nationwide through use of federal non-highway recreational fuel taxes.
Statewide organizations are well positioned to improve state-level policies that impact funding processes and to share best practices with regions.