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Recreational Trails Program (RTP)

Grants to New York Nonprofits and Agencies
to Maintain and Improve Outdoor Trails

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (OPRHP)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

07/28/17 4:00 PM


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Grants to New York nonprofit organizations and government agencies for the development and maintenance of trails for recreational use. Projects may involve for motorized, non-motorized, and mixed-use recreational trails. Grant categories include maintenance and restoration, development and rehabilitation, purchase and lease, construction of new trails, acquisition and easements, and assessment of trail conditions.

The RTP legislation requires that States use 40% of their funds apportioned in a fiscal year for diverse recreational trail use, 30% for motorized recreation, and 30% for non-motorized recreation. Below is a description of project types and funding categories.

1. Non-Motorized project for a Single Use: A project primarily intended to benefit only one mode of non-motorized recreational trail use, such as pedestrian only or equestrian only. Projects serving various pedestrian uses (such as walking, hiking, wheelchair use, running, bird- watching, nature interpretation, backpacking, etc.) constitute a single use for the purposes of this category. Note: wheelchair use by mobility-impaired people, whether operated manually or powered, constitutes pedestrian use, not motorized trail use. Projects serving various non- motorized human-powered snow uses (such as skiing, snowshoeing, etc.) constitute a single use for this category.

2. Non-Motorized Diverse Use project: A project primarily intended to benefit more than one mode of non-motorized recreational trail use such as: walking, bicycling, and skating; both pedestrian and equestrian use; or pedestrian use in summer and cross-country ski use in winter.

3. Diverse Use project including both Motorized and Non-Motorized Uses: A project intended to benefit both non-motorized recreational trail use and motorized recreational trail use. This category includes projects where motorized use is permitted, but is not the predominant beneficiary. This category includes projects where motorized and non-motorized uses are separated by season, such as equestrian use in summer and snowmobile use in winter. Other examples: a common trailhead project serving separate ATV and bicycle trails; purchasing a machine to groom both snowmobile and cross-country ski trails.

4. Motorized Single Use project: A project primarily intended to benefit only one mode of motorized recreational use, such as snowmobile trail grooming. A project may be classified in this category if the project also benefits some non-motorized uses (it is not necessary to exclude non-motorized uses), but the primary intent must be for the benefit of motorized use. 5. Motorized Diverse Use project: A project primarily intended to benefit more than one mode of motorized recreational use, such as: motorcycle and ATV use; or ATV use in summer and snowmobile use in winter. A project may be classified in this category if the project also benefits some non-motorized uses (it is not necessary to exclude non-motorized uses), but the primary intent must be for the benefit of motorized use.

Projects in categories 1 and 2 count toward the 30 percent non-motorized use requirement. Projects in categories 2, 3, and 5 count toward the 40 percent diverse trail use requirement. Projects in categories 4 and 5 count toward the 30 percent motorized use requirement.

For equipment-only purchases and assessment projects, the selection criteria will be based on the primary use of the trail system that the project impacts.

Eligible Activities / Program benefit Requirements:

All projects funded under the Recreational Trails Grant Program must meet the following eligibility requirements:

-The proposed project must be legally and physically accessible to the public, or be a portion of an identified trailway project which, when completed, will be legally and physically accessible to the public;

-The proposed project must be physically and environmentally developable as a trailway;

-The proposed project must be planned and developed under the laws, policies and administrative procedures of the State; and

-The proposed project must be identified in or further one or more specific goals of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) required by the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, or the Statewide Trails Plan.

Funding under the Recreational Trails Grant Program is available for one or more of the following grant categories and project elements:

-Maintenance and restoration of existing trails may be interpreted broadly to include any kind of trail maintenance, restoration, rehabilitation, or relocation. This category may include maintenance and restoration of trail bridges or providing appropriate signage along a trail.

-Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages for recreational trails may be interpreted broadly to include development or rehabilitation of any trailside and trailhead facility. The definition of “rehabilitation” means extensive repair needed to bring a facility up to standards suitable for public use (not routine maintenance). Trailside and trailhead facilities should have a direct relationship with a recreational trail; a highway rest area or visitor center is not an appropriate use of RTP funds.

-Purchase and lease of recreational trail construction and maintenance equipment includes purchase and lease of any trail construction and maintenance equipment, including lawn mowers and trail grooming machines, provided the equipment is used primarily to construct and maintain recreational trails. This provision does not include purchase of equipment to be used for purposes unrelated to trails. For example, a lawn mower purchased under this program must be used primarily for trail and trailside maintenance, not to maintain open lawn areas or sport fields.

-Construction of new recreational trails includes construction of new trail bridges or providing appropriate signage along a trail. In the case of new recreational trails crossing Federal lands, construction of the trails shall be: permissible under other law; necessary and recommended by a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP); approved by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP); and approved by each Federal agency having jurisdiction over the affected lands under such terms and conditions as the head of the Federal agency determines to be appropriate, except that the approval shall be contingent on compliance by the Federal agency with all applicable laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.).

-Acquisition of easements and fee simple title to property is self-explanatory. This category may include acquisition of old road or railroad bridges to be used as recreational trail bridges. However, §206(g)(1) prohibits condemnation of any kind of interest in property. Therefore, acquisition of any kind of interest in property must be from a willing landowner or seller.

-Assessment of trail conditions for accessibility and maintenance authorizes specific projects to assess trails to determine the level of accessibility for people who have disabilities, to develop programs to provide trail access information, and to assess trails for current or future maintenance needs.

Allowable Costs:

All expenditures under these grants must be for goods and services procured in a manner so as to assure the prudent and economical use of public money in the best interests of the taxpayers of the State of New York, to facilitate the acquisition of goods and services of maximum quality at the lowest possible cost under the circumstances, and to guard against nepotism, favoritism, improvidence, extravagance, fraud and corruption. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to, competitive bidding, the solicitation of three price quotes, written requests for proposals, etc.

Eligible budget items include:

Pre-Development, Planning and Design:

-Design Fees and Other Professional Fees are allowed for the preparation of construction documents and other pre-construction requirements, including environmental reviews and right-of-way plans. These documents are required for trails projects, and applicants are encouraged to include any costs associated with the preparation of these documents in their budget. Upon approval, planning and environmental assessment costs incurred prior to project approval may be credited toward the matching share or non-Federal share cost of the project, limited to costs incurred not more than 18 months prior to project approval.

-Archeology includes field work, report writing, curation of artifacts and interpretation. If you cannot document prior ground disturbance, it is very likely that an archeological survey will be required prior to any work on the project. Your budget should take into account the need for an archeological survey. Contact your Regional Grant Administrator (RGA) to determine the need and anticipated costs for archeology.

-Project Planning is only permitted for projects that assess trail conditions to determine the level of accessibility for people who have disabilities, and to assess trails for current or future maintenance needs. Additional planning costs are not eligible.

-Pre-development costs should not exceed 15% of the total funds requested.


-Include only work items related to new development or restoration related to this grant application.

-Include only the costs pertaining to construction and rehabilitation that are directly related to recreational trails and trailside amenities. Where applicable, the budget should identify which costs are for trail clearing, gravelling/paving, bridge work, installation of gates, signs, or other trail-side amenities.

Acquisition of Land:

-Provide a breakdown for each parcel showing the type of interest acquired (fee-simple, lease, easement, etc.) and method of acquisition (purchase, donation), number of acres and estimated Fair Market Value of the parcel(s) as determined by a qualified appraiser. A written estimate of value (windshield appraisal/market valuation) for each acquired parcel must be included.

-Also include Appraisals, Surveys, and Legal Fees under this category. If a grant is awarded, the value of each parcel must be established by a full, detailed (self-contained appraisal). For any parcel valued at $300,000 or more, two full, detailed (self- contained) appraisal reports are required.

Purchase/Lease of Equipment:

-Equipment is defined as tangible, non-expendable personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. Equipment purchased with grant assistance shall be used in the project or program for which it was acquired as long as needed, then may be used for other activities or disposed of in accordance with federal standards.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 159081

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

For 2017, the minimum grant award for equipment purchase only awards is $5,000, and the minimum award for all other trails projects is $25,000. The maximum grant award is $200,000.

Term of Contract:

Once a contract is executed, all projects must be completed within five (5) years from date of federal approval.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Types of Applicants:
-State Agencies
-Federal Agencies
-Other Government Entities
-Not-for-Profit Corporations that have tax-exempt status under the IRS code, are current with pertinent federal and state filings and have pre-qualified in the Grants Gateway (see

The applicant must have an ownership interest in the project property.

Where the applicant is not the property owner:
-A clear and legible copy of the documentation showing such interest in the property (i.e. lease, operating or management agreement) must be provided along with a letter of support for the project from the owner/managing entity stipulating that they will agree to enter into a legally binding agreement.
-In the case of State Property, an authorization (i.e. permit) must be submitted if a lease, operating, or management agreement is not already in place. A letter of support from the Capital Facilities Manager must be submitted with the application.
-If the project involves acquisition of property, describe the status of purchase negotiations and document the owner’s intent to sell (signed purchase contract, option agreement, or letter of intent).
-If the project involves the purchase of equipment, a list of landowners and a copy of the land use agreement must be provided.

Ineligible Costs:
-Indirect costs are ineligible expenses under RTP. Indirect costs are elements which are not directly attributable to the project. Usually these costs relate to objects of expenditure that do not become an integral part of the finished product or service, such as rent, heat, light, supplies, and other administrative overhead (e.g. salaries of executive staff).
-Condemnation of any kind of interest in property or the use of value of condemned land toward the match requirement;
-Construction of any recreational trail on State or Federal land for any motorized use unless: such uses are legally permissible on such lands, and such construction is consistent with the management direction in the approved land and resource management plan;
-Upgrading, expanding, or otherwise facilitating motorized use or access to recreational trails predominantly used by nonmotorized recreational trail users and on which, as of May 1, 1991, motorized use was prohibited or had not occurred.
-The performance of any Trail Feasibility Study
-Routine Law Enforcement
-Trail Planning, if it is the sole purpose of the project. Trail planning costs may be allowed if it is a relatively small portion of an overall trail project.
-Railroad rights-of-way on which the railroad tracks are in place, if trail users will traverse on or between the railroad tracks, except for providing a railroad crossing in coordination with the railroad owner, operator, and State agency with jurisdiction over the railroads.
-Improvements to roads and/or bridges intended to be generally accessible by low clearance passenger vehicles (regular passenger cars), unless they are specifically designated for recreational trail use by the managing agency
-Paths or sidewalks along or adjacent to public roads or streets unless the path or sidewalk is needed to complete a missing link between other recreational trails
-Federally designated Wilderness areas are subject to the restrictions of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131)

Pre-proposal Conference:

The Regional Economic Development Council’s statewide training workshops will provide an overview of the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process and how to access up to $750 million in economic development funding from agency programs through one application. Additionally, there will be informational breakout sessions on specific areas of funding available for economic development projects.

The training workshops are open to local economic development officials, municipalities, non-profits, businesses and members of the public.

Available workshops:

-North Country: 6/23/2017, 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM, Lake Placid, ORDA Lake Placid Convention Center

-Capital Region: 6/26/2017, 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM, Troy, Hudson Valley Community College

More information regarding workshops may be found here:

Pre-Application Information:

This grant program is administered on a reimbursement basis.

Successful applicants are reimbursed for up to 80 percent of their eligible expenditures. The reimbursement rate for awarded grants will be determined by the grant award/total cost ratio, which in some cases may be lower than 80%. Note: If the applicant is another Federal agency, the total federal share may not exceed 95%.

The deadline for submission is 4:00 PM on Friday, July 28, 2017.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

RSVP for the June 23 workshop in Lake Placid, NY:

RSVP for the June 26 workshop in Troy, NY:

The Consolidated Funding Application is available through:

Grant program questions can be directed to your regional grant administrator:

CFA system and process questions should be directed to the regional economic development contact for your region:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York