Recreational Trails Program
The federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) was authorized by Congress in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. This act established the RTP Funding and the federal Recreational Trails Trust Fund. The act, which has been reauthorized numerous times, required that motor fuel tax revenues generated from the sales of motor fuel for off-highway recreational purposes be transferred from the Highway Trust Fund to the Trails Trust Fund for recreational trail and facility improvements. RTP grants are available for non-motorized and motorized trail projects.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) administers the RTP and appropriates funds to individual states as authorized in the legislation and as appropriated by Congress.
RTP completed project map click here.
RTP grant applications are available on the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation website. Applications are updated as the need arises.
- RTP Environmental Clearance sample form (For informational purposes only)
- Non profit organizations information (For informational purposes only)
- Non-Motorized Evaluation Sheet (For informational purposes only- not an application requirement)
- Trail Construction Guidelines (PDF)
All applications are reviewed by Utah State Parks staff for completeness and compliance with applicable laws, guidelines, and directives. Applications are due by May 1 annually.
RTP funding may be used for the construction and maintenance of trails and trail-related facilities, including the development of staging areas, trailheads, restroom facilities, etc. RTP funding may not be used for non-trail related activities such as the development of campgrounds, purchase of picnic tables, landscaping, or irrigation system development, nor may it be used for law enforcement or similar patrols.
All funding awarded under the RTP program is subject to a 50/50 sponsor match. Match may be comprised of sponsor cash, in-kind services, volunteer labor, or donations. An additional requirement for a 5% non-federal share is imposed on federal agencies applying for funding. Projects that meet the standard for funding are submitted to the Combined Trails Advisory Council for review and funding recommendation. The Combined Trails Advisory Council generally meets during August to finalize the award list. The finalized list of projects to be funded under RTP is submitted to the Director of the Division of State Parks and Recreation for administrative approval and funding. Projects authorized for funding are placed on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) list.
After the fall State Parks Board meeting, project sponsors recommended for RTP funding are contacted by Utah State Parks staff for a meeting where the federal environmental clearance requirements of the RTP are explained. Sponsors are given an environmental clearance checklist to complete and fiscal assistance contracts to sign.
Upon completion of the project, the sponsor submits a request for reimbursement of cost to the state. A final inspection is completed, and payment is made.