Recreational Trails Program
The 2022 grant cycle is CLOSED. The 2022 grant cycle closed Sunday, May 1, 2022 at 5 p.m.
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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.
Federal transportation funds benefit recreation including hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving, or using other off-road motorized vehicles.
- RTP Legislation: 23 U.S.C. 206:
(d) (2) Permissible uses. Permissible uses of funds apportioned to a State for a fiscal year to carry out this section include
- (A) maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails;
- (B) development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages for recreational trails;
- (C) purchase and lease of recreational trail construction and maintenance equipment;
- (D) construction of new recreational trails, except that, in the case of new recreational trails crossing Federal lands, construction of the trails shall be
- permissible under other law;
- necessary and required by a statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plan that is required by the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (16 U.S.C. 460 l-4 et seq.) and that is in effect;
- approved by the administering agency of the State designated under subsection (c)(1); and
- approved by each Federal agency having jurisdiction over the affected lands under such terms and conditions as the head of the Federal agency determines to be appropriate, except that the approval shall be contingent on compliance by the Federal agency with all applicable laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.);
- (E) acquisition of easements and fee simple title to property for recreational trails or recreational trail corridors;
- (F) payment of costs to the State incurred in administering the program, but in an amount not to exceed 7 percent of the apportionment made to the State for the fiscal year to carry out this section; and
- (G) operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection as those objectives relate to the use of recreational trails, but in an amount not to exceed 5 percent of the apportionment made to the State for the fiscal year.
A State must use not less than 88 percent of its RTP apportionment each fiscal year for trail projects that qualify under subparagraphs A through E. For the purpose of calculating the 40-30-30 requirements, a State must consider projects funded under subparagraphs A, B, C, D, E, and G (but not F). If a State uses less than 7 percent for administrative costs or less than 5 percent for educational costs, the funds must be used for trail projects.
Typical education projects may include:
- Development and operation of trail safety education programs.
- Development and operation of trail-related environmental education programs.
- Production of trail-related educational materials, whether on information displays, in print, video, audio, interactive computer displays, etc.
Check Out This Breakdown of Past Utah RTP Projects!
View Frequently Asked Questions About RTP
RTP grant applications are through the online Submittable portal in the Utah Division of Recreation website. Applications are updated annually. https://utahdivisionofrecreation.submittable.com/submit
All applications must be submitted through the online Submittable grant portal. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Utah Division of Recreation staff before submitting their proposals for guidance and to discuss project details.
- SUBMITTABLE GRANT PORTAL HOW-TO-GUIDE
- NEPA CONSIDERATIONS
- Any project breaking ground requires environmental clearance regardless of land ownership and RTP project construction may not begin until NEPA has been complete and approved by UDOT and the RTP grant administrator. Applicants should have either completed NEPA or begun the process of obtaining the correct environmental clearance before applying.
- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
All applications are reviewed by the Division of Recreation staff for completeness and compliance with applicable laws, guidelines, and directives. Applications are due by May 1 annually.
If you would like a completeness review of your application, please reach out to the Division of Outdoor Recreation staff by April 15th by 5:00 p.m. (MST).
• Acquisition of property for trails and/or trailheads.
• Maintenance and restoration of existing trails.
• Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities, including restrooms.
• Construction of new trails which increase regional connectivity.
• Purchase and/or lease of trail construction and maintenance equipment. Equipment made outside of America (Buy America Act) is ineligible.
• Construction of new trails (with appropriate authorizations for new trails on federally-managed lands).
• Purchase or replacement of signs, kiosks, or other wayfinding infrastructure.
• Development and/or dissemination of trail related publications such as maps, safety brochures, etc.*
• The operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection related to trails.*
DISQUALIFYING APPLICATION TRAITS
• NEPA (environmental clearance) unable to be complete within year of grant award. (if applicable).
• Project completion scheduled after two (2) years of the granting of RTP funds.
• Incomplete application checklist items.
• Unsigned application.
• Unauthorized personnel as Primary Project Manager.
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 June to finalize the recommended award list. The finalized list of projects to be funded under RTP is submitted to the Utah Dept. of Transportation Commission for administrative approval and funding. Projects authorized for funding are placed on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) list.