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Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Grant

Grants to Montana Agencies, Associations, and
Clubs to Maintain and Develop Outdoor Trails

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

01/31/20 3:00PM MST


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Grants to Montana government agencies, clubs, and private associations for the development, restoration, and maintenance of recreational trails. Eligible projects include urban trail development, trail-related safety and educational projects, development of trailside facilities, restoration of areas damaged by use, and front-country and backcountry trail rehabilitation.

Typical Recreational Trails Program (RTP) projects may include grooming of trails for winter recreation, backcountry or front-country trail rehabilitation and maintenance, and the construction of new trails and trailside structures.
Eligible Project Types
  • Trail projects on routes legally designated or otherwise appropriately approved by the land
  • managing agency.
  • Trails that are not currently under litigation in a court of law.
  • Construction and maintenance of trails:
    • Clearing/brushing on federal lands will only be allowed to the standard clearing widths identified in the appropriate federal agency trail guidelines.
    • On federal lands, grants will only be approved for trails legally designated by the appropriate federal agency that are included in recognized forest plans, resource area plans, or travel plans.
    • Broad scale maintenance will require specific trail identification and specific description of work to be accomplished.
    • Weed control related to a trail or trail projects.
  • Restoration of areas damaged by trail use.
  • Development of trailside and trailhead facilities (buildings and facilities that are newly constructed or altered with federal funds are subject to the accessibility requirements contained in the Uniform Accessibility Standards).
  • Providing features to assist individuals with disabilities.
  • Development of urban trail linkages near homes and work places.
  • Operation of trails-related environmental protection and safety education programs.
  • Trails information, ethics education, and interpretive information.
  • Acquisition of easements and fee simple title of property for trails.
  • Signs and other traffic control devices relating to trail use (such devices must conform to the
  • Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices).
  • Purchase of trail-specific equipment to be used on a long-term or seasonal basis and that is not available through rent or lease. The applicant must identify a methodology for long-term operation and maintenance of the equipment. Equipment must clearly and solely benefit trail users and not be used in other settings. Equipment should be rented if it will not be used for ongoing maintenance specific to the proposed trail or trail systems.

Priority Project Areas

The State Trails Advisory Committee has identified the following priority project areas for funding this cycle. All projects will be reviewed based on merit before priority areas are considered.
  • Projects involving direct, on-the-ground trail work (e.g. trail crews, grooming activities).
  • Projects that will be closed out within this grant cycle (ending 10/15/2022). RTP funding is currently made available through the FAST Act, which expires after this cycle.
  • Projects that can be maintained without future RTP funds and/or that have a sustainable maintenance plan clearly identified.
  • Projects that have a clear tie to enhancing public safety for a large population and/or multiple trail user groups.
Purchasing Equipment
“Equipment” is defined as an article of nonexpendable, tangible property having a useful life of more than five years and with an acquisition cost that exceeds $1,000.
The following equipment may be purchased with RTP funds:
  • Grooming vehicles, snowmobiles,
  • Grooming equipment
  • Storage containers
  • Bridge structures
  • Utility Terrain Vehicles (for weed control and general trail maintenance), etc. Other 
The public must be assured legal access to trails and trail-related facilities developed or maintained with RTP funds. The program places a higher value on a longer-term easements or agreements that have the potential of allowing for public access in perpetuity.
The RTP does not require all projects to meet ADA requirements; however, preference is given to applications that incorporate accessible features and elements. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 167502

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Montana State Parks receives over 75 RTP applications and grants 45-55 awards each application cycle. The State Trails Advisory Committee may award up to six Big Grants in 2020.

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Standard Grant Request: $10,000 to $69,999
- Big Grant Request: $70,000 to $100,000

Term of Contract:

You must expend funds on your project within 8 months of your project start date (expected mid-July or August 2020).

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

RTP grant applicants may include federal, tribal, state, county, or municipal agencies and private associations and clubs.

Project expenses incurred before the RTP project start date (when the Contract Agreement is signed) are ineligible for reimbursement.

For a list of Ineligible Project Types please see Appendix B: Eligible/Ineligible Project Types and Activities, page 31 of the Guidelines available in Supporting Documents below.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Grant Application Trainings
The training sessions are free and highly recommended for new and returning applicants. The trainings will provide tips on writing a competitive application with a focus on recent changes to RTP Guidelines.

In-Person Trainings:
- Tue, 11/5, 1pm-4pm, Kalispell
FWP Region 1 Headquarters, 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT
- Wed, 11/6, 1pm-4pm, Missoula
FWP Region 2 Headquarters, 3201 Spurgin Road, Missoula, MT
- Wed, 11/13, 9am-Noon, Helena (in-person and online)
FWP Annex (3rd Floor), 1625 11th Ave, Helena, MT
- Thu, 11/14, 1pm-4pm, Billings
FWP Region 5 Headquarters, 2300 Lake Elmo Drive, Billings, MT
- Wed, 11/20, 1pm-4pm, Bozeman
FWP Region 3 Headquarters, 1400 South 19th, Bozeman, MT

Online Training:
An online training will take place Wednesday, 11/13 from 9am to Noon. Barring technical issues, this training session will be recorded and made available on the RTP website after the training. For more information on attending this training, contact Michelle McNamee.

RSVP to Michelle McNamee ( in advance of your training date. Include your full name, affiliation, and the training date/location you plan to attend. Walk-ins are allowed.

Pre-Application Information:

The 2020 RTP application period is open from November 1, 2019 to January 31, 2020 at 3:00pm MST.

Applications must be submitted online through WebGrants. Applications will not be accepted after 3:00 pm MST on January 31, 2020. An organization can submit only one grant application per grant cycle.

The RTP will likely experience a delay to its funding timeline and a decrease in total available funding. This is due to the potential FAST Act rescission (revocation of funds) which is scheduled to take place nationally on July 1, 2020. Details surrounding the FAST Act rescission are currently unknown. FWP will have more information when the final rescission amount is announced, possibly as late as June 2020.

For more information, see page 6 of the Guidelines available in Supporting Documents below.

Entities applying for a Big Grant may be asked to present at the State Trails Advisory Committee meeting in April 2020.

The organization applying to the RTP must be the organization that will expend the funds and manage the grant. The RTP does not allow Tri-Party Agreements.

Documentation of project support/approval may be required for certain project types (see the descriptions in the Guidelines). Contact the RTP Manager if you are unsure what is required for your project.

The RTP has placed cap on the maximum amount of match that may be included on an application. Each RTP project must have a ratio of 80% RTP funds to 20% matching funds. Applicants choosing to exceed the minimum match requirement (20% of total project funds or 25% of the RTP request) may do so by only up to 5%.

An entity may receive RTP reimbursement only after the entity has expended funds on an RTP-eligible expense and submitted adequate documentation.

All RTP award recipients must obtain a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number and register in the System for Award Management (SAM) by the time of award. Grantees must renew their SAM registration annually to continue to receive reimbursement from RTP.

The details and processes for registration are available at and

Applications without adequate landowner permissions will be considered incomplete and will not be considered for funding.

Recreational Trails Program:

Webinar Recording:

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Michelle McNamee
State Trails Coordinator
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
PO Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620
(406) 444-7642

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Montana

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