The Trail Fund is a joint initiative of the Trails Move People Coalition, led by American Trails.
The Trail Fund has now morphed into two programs. The Trail Capacity Program fills the role of what the "Trail Fund" was in 2021, and the Legacy Trail Program now offers Legacy Roads and Trails funding to projects on U.S. Forest Service lands.
The Trail Capacity Program invests in nationwide trails community capacity. We will maximize available funding focused on trail maintenance, research, and stewardship training projects. We find the best trail partners from all nonmotorized and motorized trail user groups (including water trails), and we measure our success in terms of visible, on-the-ground maintenance of trails and increased capacity of trail stewards to do the job effectively.
What the program does:
Supports partners to complete trail research, design, planning, stewardship, and maintenance projects that are inclusive, foster improved trail user behavior and connect trail assets to a broader spectrum of users. This program is targeted for non-Forest Service Federal lands, as well as State, local, and private lands. Projects on Forest Service lands should be directed to the Legacy Trails Program.
Land managers, stewardship organizations, and other members of the trail research, education, and stewardship community.
Typical project size: Projects range in size. We fund between 2.5K and 15k.
No match required: No in-kind or cash match required, but some match preferred.
Funding cycle: Annual funding cycle. We anticipate applications will be open in the fall, with awards made for the following year's building season.
Creating more resilient and sustainable National Forest System trails, and restoring, protecting, and maintaining crucial watersheds on our national forests and grasslands
What the program does:
Enables project partners to complete trails projects which improve watershed health, restore aquatic organism passages, preserve access, and decommission unauthorized and previously closed trails.
Nonprofit organizations and non-Federal agencies
Typical project size:
Small projects may apply for between 5-20K Large projects may apply for up to 100K
50% Match: No cash match required. In-kind match is acceptable.
Funding cycle: Opens fall 2022 for 2023 field season. Funding must be spent in 2 yrs.
Which program should I apply for?
The Trails Capacity Program funds trails research, stewardship training, and trail maintenance on private or public land (except for U.S. Forest Service lands), whereas the Legacy Trails Program is only for projects on national forests and grasslands managed by the USDA Forest Service. Please get in touch if you need help figuring out which funding program might be right for your project.
Are these funds for all trails types?
Yes! We fund projects for all trails users, and for motorized and nonmotorized trails.
What do I need to do before applying?
It’s a good idea to have a clearly defined project and strong community support for your project well ahead of the application deadline. You will need letters of support, a detailed project budget, and a project timeline. If you are thinking of applying to the Legacy Trails Program, get in touch with your local Forest Service District Ranger well in advance. You will need to get a letter of support and/or formal written agreement with them before applying for funds. For more details about how to apply for trail funds through American Trails, go to thetrailfund.org.
If we are awarded a grant, what will be expected of us?
Awardees become partners in helping promote American Trails and The Trail Fund. You will be asked to send out a press release and other publicity around your project to local and social media and to share images with American Trails of your project before, during, and after completion. We also ask for a final project report.
For Legacy Trails Program awardees, you will be asked to work with your local Forest Service District Ranger for any publicity and send American Trails a final project report.
How do I find out more information?
Other questions? Send an email to [email protected]mericantrails.org.