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Regional Trail Grant Program

Grants to Minnesota Local Governments
for the Development of Recreational Trails

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Deadline Date:

03/29/19 Receipt


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Grants starting at $5,000 to Minnesota municipal and county governments to develop long-distance recreational trails in areas of the State outside the seven-county metropolitan region. Funding is intended to support the development and acquisition of trail facilities that are considered to be of statewide or regional significance.

The Regional Trail Grant Program is intended to accelerate the development of trails that are developed by local units of government and act as counterparts and/or compliments of the state trail system.

Grants are awarded for the acquisition and development of regional trails and for removal of barriers that impede full access to these facilities. Historically, priority has been given to projects that can demonstrate significant length, a high-expected use, significant resource quality and attractiveness.

Priority for trail project funding will be given to projects that develop trails of significant length. Significant considerations also include expected amount and type of use, and quality and attractiveness of natural and cultural resources.

Eligible projects may include, but are not necessarily limited to the following examples:
- Land acquisition from willing sellers, where value is established by a licensed and certified appraiser, whose conclusions of value are certified by the State, and only if perpetual easement for recreation trail purposes is conveyed to the state.
- Construction of trails on public or private lands where a twenty year easement for the purpose of the project can be obtained.
- Development of trail linkages near homes and workplaces.
- Development of permanent trailside improvements and trailhead facilities (e.g., drainage, crossings, stabilization, parking, signage, controls, open-sided shelters, water, and sanitary facilities).
- Provision of features that facilitate access and use of trails by persons with disabilities.
- Restoration of existing trail facilities, such as resurfacing, repair, or rehabilitation of trails or trailhead facilities.
- Contracted maintenance of existing recreational trails.
- Construction or restoration of trail bridges.

Eligible Reimbursement Costs:
- Advertising costs solely for (1) Recruitment of personnel; (2) Solicitation of bids; and (3) Disposal of scrap materials.
- Capital and labor expenditures for facilities, equipment and other capital assets.
- Materials and/or supplies.
- Freight transportation expenses.
- Professional services and Project administration costs provided that they do not exceed 20 percent of the total cost of the project.
- Land acquisitions (including permanent easements) whose value a licensed appraiser establishes and whose conclusions of value are certified by the state.

For Park and Trail Criteria, see Park and Trail Criteria for Regional or Statewide Significance in Supporting Documents below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180214

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The minimum grant request is $5,000, and the maximum grant award is $250,000.

Term of Contract:

Funded projects must begin promptly after an agreement has been signed. 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 funded with FY 2020 appropriations must be completed by June 30, 2021 and immediately available for use to the general public for no less than 20 years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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 20-year easement for recreational purposes. Development projects require a 20 year maintenance commitment by the project sponsor.

Funds cannot be used for the development of any trails that are designated as part of the state trail system.

Neither this funding source, nor the match can be used for in-house labor services and/or to meet existing payroll.

Non-eligible projects include but are not limited to:
- Projects within state park boundaries, state recreational areas, on state trails, and elements of the Metropolitan Open Space System.
- Construction of trails within federally designated wilderness areas (with some exceptions).
- Construction of ordinary sidewalks.
- Planning projects that are preliminary to construction of any trail projects.
- Improvements on highways or other roadways, including but not limited to, lighting, striping, on-street routing, and shoulder work.
- All paved multi-use bicycle/pedestrian trails less than 10 feet in width are not eligible. Short distance exceptions are allowed on a case by case basis.

For Non-eligible Reimbursement Costs, see

Pre-Application Information:

All applications must be received electronically by March 29, 2019.

Grant Application Timeline:
- 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. Awarded grantees then will follow the timeline below.

Awarded Grant Timeline:
- July 2019: Award letter received. Required documentation checklist also included with notification letter.
- 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.

Grants are reimbursement based up to 75 percent of eligible project costs, and recipients must provide a non-state cash match of at least 25 percent. (Other state funds or grants, such as Parks and Trails Legacy Grants, or Metropolitan Council Grants cannot match these grants.) Local governments complete the acquisition and/or projects and are reimbursed for a portion of the acquisition and/or project actually completed.

Contact Information:

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

Applications should be emailed to:

Dan Golner, Grants Specialist Coordinator

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Parks and Trails
500 Lafayette Road, Box 39
Saint Paul, MN 55155

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota