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Recreational Trails Program (RTP) - Trails Grant

Grants to Massachusetts Agencies and Nonprofits for
Leisure Trails Protection, Construction, Stewardship

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)

Deadline Date:

02/01/18 Postmarked


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Grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to Massachusetts local, State, regional, and federal agencies and nonprofits for a variety of motorized, non-motorized, and multi-use leisure trail projects including maintenance, construction, and stewardship.

The grant program requires that projects be primarily recreation- rather than transportation-oriented, and will give priority to projects creating or facilitating physical, on-the-ground trail improvements, which protect or enhance the site's natural and cultural resources, and link individuals and communities to these resources.

The RTP supports a wide range of recreational trail activities such as hiking, mountain biking, walking, running, paddling (water-based trail use), cross-country and back-country skiing, nature-based interpretive trail use, equestrian use, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicular riding or other off-road motorized recreational uses.

Suggested Types of Trails for Recreational Trails Projects:

- Long distance trails (such as Mass Central Rail Trail, Mid-state Trail, New England National Scenic Trail, Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, Appalachian Trail, Warner Trail, Bay Circuit Trail, and Mahican-Mohawk Trail).
- Trails that link natural and recreational resources (such as state or local parks) to homes, schools, neighborhoods, and communities - especially communities of socio-economic and environmental need.
- Urban trails in densely populated areas with underserved populations.
- Water trails.
- Trails on ‘non-traditional’ open spaces such as utility and transportation corridors, watershed lands, former industrial sites, and landfills.
- Snowmobile, ATV or off-road motorcycle trails.

RTP - Eligible Project Categories

- Construction of new recreational trails
- Maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails
- Acquisition of easements and fee interest in property for trails and trail corridors.
- Development and rehabilitation of recreational trailside and trailhead facilities
- Purchase and lease of recreational trail construction and maintenance equipment
- Trail Assessments

Engineering and other activities that are deemed necessary for construction are eligible activities. Engineering includes, but may not be limited to, surveying, engineering plans, permitting, cost estimating and development of bid specifications. If the end result of an activity is to allow a project to be quantified, bid and constructed, it can be viewed as an “engineering” activity and thus is eligible.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 164571

Estimated Size of Grant:

The RTP provides grants for project costs ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. However, larger projects of up to $100,000 will be considered if the project will directly impact multiple communities upon completion.

Term of Contract:

All grant funds must be expended and grant-funded work completed within 24 months after the contract start date (which will be signed after the grant award is announced). No grant work may begin until the grant contract and agreement has been finalized.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

All state, regional, municipal, and some federal government agencies, as well as IRS-approved non-profit organizations are eligible for grants under the program. State and federal agencies should call for additional details on eligibility.

RTP - Ineligible Project Categories:

- Taking of land through eminent domain
- Feasibility studies
- Law enforcement
- Roads
- Sidewalks
- *Planning

*Planning activities, including but not limited to feasibility studies, conceptual designs, alternatives analyses, strategic planning, land protection prioritization and development strategies are ineligible for funding under the RTP program. However, if an activity defined as planning constitutes less than 25% of the total proposed project value, it can be permitted and the project can be eligible for funding. The end result of the project must be on-the-ground trail creation or maintenance, or completion of all steps leading to that point in the project. If the end result of an activity is a written document or graphic output that is meant to guide decision-making, it is likely a planning activity.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications Due February 1st each year.

Recreational trails grants are 80-20 challenge grants. In other words, 80% of the project costs are reimbursed to grantees, but at least 20% of the total project value must come from other sources in the form of match. Match can be accrued with volunteer labor, staff time, in-kind of use of equipment, donations and funding from other grants.

The RTP is a reimbursement grant program, meaning grantees must first pay for expenditures themselves and then submit for reimbursement using the required documentation.

Contact Information:

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

Amanda Lewis
Recreational Trails Program Coordinator
136 Damon Road
Northampton, MA 01060

(413) 586-8706 ext. 19

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts