Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Grants starting at $5,000 to Minnesota local government agencies to improve the connectivity of local trail systems. Funding is intended to support projects such as trail construction, land acquisition, development of trail linkages in strategic locations, improvement of trailside facilities, improved trail access for people with disabilities, trail restoration, maintenance of existing recreational trails, and the construction or restoration of trail bridges.
The Local Trail Connections Program provides grants to local units of government to promote relatively short trail connections between where people live and desirable locations. This program is intended to accelerate local trail connections to planned and existing state trails and other public facilities, not to create significant new recreation trails. Its primary purpose is to complete connections between residential areas within cities or entire communities and significant public resources (e.g. historical areas, open space, parks and/or other trails)
Grants are awarded for the acquisition and development of trail facilities and for removal of barriers that impede full access to these facilities. Historically, priority has been given to projects that seek to develop residential connections to state and regional facilities and to link existing trail systems. Projects must result in a trail linkage that is immediately available for use by the general public. Acquisition of trail right-of-way is eligible only when proposed in conjunction with trail development.
Priority for trail project funding will be given to projects that provide significant connectivity. Considerations also include trail length, expected amount and type of use, and quality and attractiveness of natural and cultural resources.
Only contract services, materials, and supplies are reimbursable.
For a list of Eligible Projects and Costs, see https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/assistance/grants/recreation/local_trails_connection/ltc_manual.pdf#page=7.
GrantWatch ID#: 178675
The minimum grant request is $5,000, and the maximum grant award is $150,000.
Funds will first be available no earlier than July 1, 2019 to start the contracting process. This means projects funded in this grant round will not have a contract in place before July 1st and thus cannot begin the project prior to this date.
All projects awarded through this grant round must be completed by June 30, 2021 and immediately available for use to the general public for no less than 20 years.
Typically, only projects that are programmed for funding in the current or upcoming federal fiscal year are eligible to receive funding through the current years’ solicitation.
All local units of government (typically cities, counties, and townships) are eligible to apply. Also user groups and/or trail organizations may apply, but only in coordination with a local unit of government per legislation. Funding is only available to a local unit of government.
- Acquisition projects require a perpetual easement for recreational purposes.
- Development projects require a 20 year maintenance commitment by the project sponsor. A "Twenty-Year Easement for Recreational Trail Purposes” must be attached to the deed.
- All paved multi-use bicycle/pedestrian trails must be 10 feet in width to be considered for funding through this program. Very short distance exceptions might be allowed on a case by case basis and limited in distance (i.e. 20-30 feet for example).
Projects inside state park boundaries, state recreation areas, on state trail corridors and elements of the Regional Open Space System in the Twin Cities Metro System are not eligible.
Neither this funding source, nor the match can be used for in-house labor services and/or to meet existing payroll.
For a list of Non-eligible Projects and Costs, see https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/assistance/grants/recreation/local_trails_connection/ltc_manual.pdf#page=8.
All applications must be received electronically by March 29, 2019.
Staff members are available to discuss your project or review application materials prior to submittal. You are encouraged to submit any draft application or materials by March 8, 2019 if you would like staff to provide comments.
- Early January 2019: Grant application materials available on the DNR website
- March 8, 2019: Draft applications due if grant applicant seeks comments by Grant Coordinator (not required)
- March 29, 2019: Grant application due date; Applications will not be accepted after this date.
- March 30, 2019 - July 2019: Application review and selection process.
- July 2019: Grant applicants are notified of the results. All grant applicants will be sent a letter if they are awarded a grant or not. Copy of the notification letter will also be sent to the applicant partner, if applicable.
- July 2019: Award letter received
- July – June 30, 2021: Grantee must begin work on the required documentation checklist items. All items must be completed in order to receive a grant contract.
- June 30, 2021: The project must be completed by 6/30/2021. Grant extensions past 6/30/2021 are not available because the funds expire 6/30/2021 per the legislation. The Grantee must plan accordingly to complete the project no later than 6/30/2021.
These grants are 75/25 “cash match” reimbursement grants. That means the grantee must complete the project and fully pay for it, produce documentation that shows actual expenditures and proper procurement process has been followed. Then they will receive 75% of what was spent up to their grant award.
For additional information about the grant program: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/85.019
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Email the application and attachments to: Trailgrants.DNR@state.mn.us
Dan Golner, Grant Coordinator
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Parks and Trails
500 Lafayette Road, Box 39
Saint Paul, MN 55155
651-296-6157 or 888-MINNDNR (646-6367)