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Grants to Vermont Nonprofits, Agencies, Municipalities, and Tribes for Outdoor Recreational Projects

Recreational Trails Program Grants (RTP)


Agency
State

GrantWatch ID#
137803

Funding Source
Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR)
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Vermont

Important Dates
LOI Date: 12/30/23
Deadline: 02/11/24 Save

Grant Description
Grants to Vermont nonprofit organizations, government entities, municipalities, and tribes for outdoor off-road recreational trail projects. Applicants must submit a letter of interest prior to the full application and are advised to initiate the permit and registration processes as soon as possible. Funding is intended for recreational trail-based projects, where recreational use is the primary purpose, rather than serving a strictly transportation function.

Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grants are federally funded on an annual basis through the United States Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and are administered at the State level in Vermont through the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR). FPR makes RTP funds available to Vermont communities for the development and maintenance of public recreational trails, for both motorized and non-motorized recreation.

All projects are required to help achieve goals, objectives, and priorities found in the Action Plan of Vermont's Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

Eligible projects include: 

  • Maintenance or restoration of existing trails
  • Construction of new trails, with certain limitations for projects on federal lands
  • Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead amenities, facilities, parking areas (i.e., signage, kiosks, composting toilets, recycle receptacles, or trail structures along the trail, directly associated with the trail)
  • Land Acquisitions: Acquisition of trail easements or fee simple title to property with trails or recreational trail corridors in conformance with the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, P.L. 91-646.
  • Educational projects: States have flexibility to use up to 5% of a State’s annual apportionment for educational projects that provide trail-related information to the public (i.e., educational information about trail safety, appropriate trail use, managed and allowable use(s), accessibility, and environmental protection)

Recreational trails are defined in the RTP regulations as a thoroughfare or track across land or snow used for recreational purposes. Funds can be awarded for a wide range of activities and opportunities such as hiking, mountain biking, running, paddling (with portage trails), cross-country and back-country skiing, skating and skateboarding trails, nature-based interpretive use, multi-use trails, equestrian, snowmobiling, all-terrain vehicular or other off-road recreational uses (such as dirt-biking). Multiple recreational trail uses are encouraged. 

All eligible project types below must be performed in accordance with the recommended standards for outdoor recreation assets. See FPR’s Recommended Trail Standards. In addition, trails should be designed to Accessible Design Standards, unless they meet one or more of the exceptions. For more information, see: https://fpr.vermont.gov/sites/fpr/files/documents/2024_RTP_PreApplication_Guidance_Document.pdf#page=16



Recipient

Additional Eligibility Criteria
Who is eligible to apply for RTP grants:
• Municipalities (cities, towns, counties, etc.)
• Non-profit organizations
• State or Federal government agencies, other governmental entities (district or local authorities), or tribal governments

Ineligible
RTP funds may not be used for any of the following:
• Trail work along any recreational trails on land where the proposed trail use is not permitted, and where written landowner permission or support is not given
• Condemnation of any kind of interest in property
• Upgrading, expanding, otherwise facilitating motorized use or access to trails that, prior to May 1, 1991, were predominantly used by non-motorized trail users, and on which motorized use was either prohibited or had not occurred
• Feasibility studies, stand-alone planning, permitting or engineering and design plans
• General land acquisition
• Law enforcement
• Picnic facilities
• Play equipment
• Campgrounds or park facilities
• Sidewalks or road improvements
• Expenses related to promotion of the applicant’s organization, promotional materials, publication reprints, or advertising
• Fundraising
• Lodging and food
• Payments which are not in compliance with relevant state or federal laws or regulations

Pre-Proposal Conference
- Grant Program Webinar: Tuesday, December 5, 2023, 1:00-2:00 PM

The webinar will include a presentation explaining the goals of the grant program, an overview of the process, and eligible activities. There will be time at the end of the session for questions from attendees. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the webpage after the session.
Register here: https://teams.microsoft.com/registration/O5O0IK26PEOcAnDtzHVZxg,NHslHCsW80GGXaGS-utXxw,wClIgQe2i0eLysrF3rH0Ig,aAgN0qCOgkaENdibqtbWzw,6GUFyPYKm0mnfwCFozbp4Q,Nu4D6hGnhUao9FRJe7jLTw?mode=read&tenantId=20b4933b-baad-433c-9c02-70edcc7559c6&webinarRing=gcc

- Open Office Hours: Wednesday, December 13, 2023, 3:00-4:00 PM

FPR staff will host a virtual open office session for prospective applicants to learn more details about the grant program and ask questions. Open office hours will be recorded and posted on this RTP webpage. To access the open office hours, visit the webpage and click the links below the Open Office Hour times.

Join Meeting: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_OTI5YWIwYjYtM2UzNS00NDZjLTg4MTAtNmU4NGUwODliNTZl%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%2220b4933b-baad-433c-9c02-70edcc7559c6%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%2263620593-d13c-4897-b022-d27192623a6c%22%7d

Or call in (audio only)
+1 802-828-7667
Phone Conference ID: 454 505 527#

Pre-Application Information
Timeline:
- Pre-application submission deadline: December 30, 2023 by 11:59 PM ET
- Full application submission deadline: February 11, 2024
- Grant application review and selection: mid-February - May 2024
∙ This process requires multiple steps, including scoring and review by the Ranking Committee, FPR agency approval, and Federal Highway Administration authorization
- Grant agreement development: May - September 2024
∙ This process includes compliance reviews (Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, state risk assessment, etc.), drafting, state contracting, legal reviews, and applicant review.
∙ Depending on the complexity of the project, how responsive applicants are to requests for additional information, and the results of any compliance reviews, grant agreements may be executed earlier or later during this timeframe.

If awarded grant funds, this program requires you to register and maintain an active SAM registration with a Unique Entity Identifier number (UEI#) from Sam.gov. The UEI# replaces the DUNS#’s previously required. If you do not already have a UEI #, please bring the process of registering now and obtain one through SAM.gov online at https://sam.gov.

Projects must have all necessary permits in place prior to construction. For state permits, the first step is to put the project through the Permit Navigator tool, which is found on the Department of Environmental Conservation website https://dec.vermont.gov/permitnavigator. This tool will help identify both Act 250 and various Agency of Natural Resources permit requirements. The Permit Navigator tool will provide the contact information for permit specialists who can be contacted for further information about obtaining permits for the project.

Once identified, permit processes can take three to six months, or longer, depending on the nature of the work being proposed or if site visits are necessary. The Permit Navigator tool will provide the contact information for permit specialists who can be contacted for further information about obtaining permits for the project.

Applicants are encouraged to enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with professional trail builders and qualified youth conservation or service corps to develop and provide training and to work in trail patrols.

The program will reimburse up to 80% of eligible project costs. Recipients are
responsible for providing a minimum of 20% of the total project cost (required match).

Written landowner permission for public trail access and to permit the trail work in this application is required for all projects.

Recordings from Past Information Sessions:

4-min RTP Info Session: Considerations for a Strong RTP Application: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyjsA78RQgI

10-min RTP Info Session: Permits and Permit Requirements for RTP Projects: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYCFjo1M_yg

60-min Recorded Trail Building & Maintenance Webinar (A Town Forest Recreation Planning Webinar Series Session): http://youtu.be/Irv9eqoUQNE

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:

$500,000

Term of Contract
- Grant implementation: Grant agreement execution date through December 31, 2026.
- Applicants should plan for projects to begin no earlier than October 1, 2024.

Contact Information
Pre-Application form:https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=O5O0IK26PEOcAnDtzHVZxpMFYmM80ZdIsCLScZJiOmxUMTkwUzBIMFdSQ1FDVUFGUjJERTNRR01MWC4u

To submit a pre-application, complete the form linked above and then email your completed workplan worksheet, permit navigator guide, and budget worksheet to: ANR.FPRRecreationGrants@vermont.gov.

Direct questions to the above email.

Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
1 National Life Drive, Davis 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3801
Tel: 802-760-8450

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