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Recreational Trails Program (RTP)

Grants to Maine Nonprofits and Agencies to
Maintain and Develop Recreational Trails

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry - Bureau of Parks and Lands

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

09/28/18 5:00 PM


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Grants to Maine nonprofit organizations and government agencies for the development and maintenance of recreational trails and related facilities. Eligible trails may be designated for motorized or non-motorized uses. Funding categories include acquisition and development and safety and environmental education.

Program Overview:

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The RTP provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and nonmotorized recreational trail uses.

The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act reauthorized the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) for Federal fiscal years 2016 through 2020 as a set-aside of funds from the Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside under Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG).

Each State:
-Receives funds apportioned by statutory formula
-Administers its own program, usually through a State resource or park agency
-Develops its own procedures to solicit and select projects for funding
-Has a State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee to assist with the program that must meet at least one time each fiscal year

In some states, the committee selects the projects in others, the committee is advisory only.

Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BP&L) administers the RTP in Maine. RTP funds represent a portion of the federal gasoline tax attributed to recreation on non-gasoline tax supported roads. The federal government prescribes many of the regulations governing this program.

Maine Trail Advisory Committee:

The Recreational Trails Program requires that each state participating in this program create a State Trail Advisory Committee to provide counsel on RTP matters. The committee must represent both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail users and meet at least once per fiscal year. In Maine, the committee provides advice to the State Trail Administrator (STA) and the Maine BP&L regarding program policies and procedures. The committee also serves as the evaluation team that reviews, scores and recommends RTP projects for funding.

Eligible Projects:

Permissible uses of RTP grant funds include:

a) Development and Acquisition Grants

i) Maintenance and restoration of existing trails: may be interpreted to include any kind of trail maintenance (except routine maintenance), such as restoration, rehabilitation, or relocation. This category includes maintenance and restoration of trail bridges, or providing appropriate signage along a trail.
ii) Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and linkages for recreational trails: may include development or rehabilitation of any trailside or trailhead facility, provided the facility has a direct relationship with a recreational trail. The definition of “rehabilitation” means extensive repair needed to bring a facility up to standards suitable for public use or to protect resources (not routine maintenance)
iii) Construction of new recreation trails: may include construction of new trail bridges, or providing appropriate signage along a trail.
iv) Acquisition of easements and fee simple title to property for trail purposes: may include acquisition of old road or railroad bridges to be used as recreational trail bridges. Acquisition of any kind of interest in property must be from a willing landowner/seller – cannot have a signed agreement in place, only a letter stating that landowner is willing to sell.
v) Improvements to trail access and use for persons with disabilities and/or special needs.
vi) Creation, expansion, or improvement of water trails may include construction/restoration of boat landing infrastructure, signage, outhouses, portage trails, etc..
vii) Construction of new trails on federal land provided the project has been approved by the agency(ies) charged with the management of the impacted land.
viii) Purchase of trail building/grooming machinery* and equipment (grooming equipment may be eligible depending on funding levels of program.)

(1) *Maine Trails Advisory Committee specifically excludes mechanized equipment from eligibility in Maine.
(2) Hand tools are eligible expenses.

b) Safety/Environmental Education Grants

i) Funding of educational programs to promote safety and environmental education and protection as they relate to the use of recreational trails.
ii) Funds can be provided for initial carrying capacity/startup of local projects/programs that the applicant has the ability to sustain after the initial RTP investment;
iii) Funds can be provided, on an annual basis, for broad based projects/programs. Examples include, but are not limited to: (1) trail safety signage programs; (2) programs or activities (including printed material) intended to educate users regarding trail- related environmental issues; (3) production of trail-related educational materials, whether on information displays, in print, video, audio, interactive digital displays, etc.
iv) Funds cannot be provided for construction or maintenance of a trail.

Eligible Project Costs:

a) Costs associated with project engineering/design and/or project administrative costs.
b) Employee salary for “on-the-ground” RTP project work in the field.
c) Consultant/contractor services.
d) Supplies and materials for grant assisted project work.
e) Signs and interpretive aids.
f) Construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance work on trails.
g) Construction of bridges, railings, ramps, fences and retaining structures.
h) Bank stabilization, re-vegetation (excluding ornamental landscaping), and erosion control.
i) Trailhead/side development including parking, restrooms, and related facilities.
j) Acquisition of land or permanent easements essential to trail access and/or trail development.
k) Equipment rental.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 172699

Estimated Size of Grant:

Safety and Environmental Education grant awards will not exceed $5,000.

Development, Acquisition and or Combined grant awards will be funded at two levels:
i) Regular grants not to exceed $50,000.00, subject to funding level
ii) Large Scale Projects – one award up to $120,000 per funding stream (Diverse, Non-Motorized, Motorized) will be considered.

Term of Contract:

Applicant must have public trails developed on the RTP-funded property within three (3) years of receipt of RTP funds; otherwise, applicant must reimburse the full amount of RTP acquisition funds to the Bureau of Parks and Lands for reinvestment in another local RTP project.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Grants may be awarded to any of the following (providing trail project is open without limitations)
i) Nonprofit organizations
ii) Municipal agencies (cities, towns, counties, school districts, etc.)
iii) State agencies
iv) Federal government agencies
v) Other governmental entities (Indian tribal governments, regional governments)

Applicants with outstanding/incomplete RTP projects from previous years cannot apply for the current round of RTP grants unless all previous RTP projects are completed and closed out (final reimbursement request submitted to STA) by the current RTP application deadline date.

Projects Not Eligible:

The following types of projects are inconsistent with RTP legislation or State RTP program guidelines, and are not eligible for RTP funding:
a) Condemned Land – The RTP legislation prohibits using RTP funds for condemnation of any kind of interest in property, or use of the value of condemned land toward the match requirement for an RTP project. However, an RTP project may be located on land condemned with funds from other sources.
b) Feasibility Studies – Trail feasibility studies are not permitted in the RTP legislation.
c) Law Enforcement – Routine law enforcement is not permitted in the RTP legislation.
d) Planning – Trail planning is not a permissible use of RTP funds.
e) Road construction, sidewalks, gardening/landscaping, parks or park equipment, sprinklers, or campgrounds are not eligible. Campsites however are eligible.
f) Construction of motorized recreational trails on National Forest land that has been recommended for Wilderness designation.
g) Upgrading non-motorized trails for motorized use, where motorized use is prohibited or has not occurred.
h) Construction/improvements within a federal, state, county, or town road right-of-way.
i) Funding of staff/intern positions not related to a specific RTP-funded project/program.

Ineligible Project and Match Costs:
a) Food for volunteers working on project.
b) Expenses related to the promotion of the organization.
c) Advertising.
d) Fundraising.
e) Facilities that are ornamental and do not have direct benefit to trail users.
f) Lodging (unless associated with Maine Conservation Corps expenses).
g) Clothing (T-shirts or other items).
h) General overhead costs (office rent, utilities, office supplies, postage, administrative time etc.).

Pre-proposal Conference:

Anyone considering applying is encouraged to attend one of these five RTP workshops.
-Monday, May 21 2-4pm Scarborough Town Hall
-Tuesday, May 22 2-4pm Bath Parks & Recreation
-Wednesday, May 23 2-4pm Rumford Town Office
-Thursday, May 24 2-4pm Brewer Parks & Recreation
-Wednesday, May 30 2-4pm Houlton Town Office

Register for a workshop:

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline to apply is 5:00 PM, Friday, September 28, 2018.

RTP Development and Safety/Environmental Education grants will not exceed 80 percent or the grant cap, whichever is less, of a project’s total cost.

RTP Acquisition grants will not exceed 50% of the acquisition cost or the grant cap, whichever is less, of a project’s direct property costs.

The RTP grant is a reimbursement grant, meaning the applicant must be able to pay project costs in full as they are incurred prior to submitting requests for reimbursement of the federal share.

Applicants must provide at least 20% match for development and safety/environmental education grants and at least 50% for acquisition projects

Additional Match Required: Due to an administrative directive restricting the use of State of Maine General Funds as match for RTP projects, all RTP grant recipients beginning with the 2017 season are required to generate a minimum of an additional 3% match for their projects. This “excess match” will be used to offset that match formerly associated with General Fund resources, primarily in support of program administration.

Contact Information:

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

Douglas S. Beck, Outdoor Recreation Supervisor
(207) 624-6090

Bureau of Parks and Lands
54 Independence Drive
Augusta, Maine 04333

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Maine