AK Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Grants

Alaska Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation

Suggest an update

Anticipated deadline: Nov 22, 2020

Grant amount: Up to US $100,000

Fields of work: Trail Creation & Maintenance

Applicant type: Government Entity, Nonprofit, Elementary / Secondary School, College / University

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: Alaska

Location of residency: Alaska

View website    Save


AK Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Grants

The purpose of the RTP is to develop and repair recreational trails and trail-related facilities in Alaska for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses. Reimbursable grant funds are available for recreational trail development and repair, and environmental protection and safety/education programs relating to recreational trail use.

This program offers 90/10 federal matching funds on all projects for all applicants.

This program is unique in that, legislatively it is specified that 30% of the funds must be expended for projects that are strictly motorized, 30% will be spent on projects that are strictly non-motorized, while at the same time encouraging the development of projects that provide for multiple uses, 40 % must be spent on projects called diversified. Of the funds available for the RTP, a maximum of 5% may or may not be used for safety and education focused projects and it is up to the state to make this decision. This program was first funded in 1993 through the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and was called the National Recreational Trails Fund. Since that time, this program has funded over 480 trail projects in Alaska, and over 21,000 trail-related projects nation-wide, including urban greenways, nature centers, and horse, hiking, mountain bike, and motorized trails, as well as snow and water routes.

Permissible Uses of Funds

Public Benefit

All projects using grant funds must have public benefit, be accessible, open and available to the public, or targeted to a broad segment of the public. Grant funds should not be used for projects that have such limited capacity that only a few paying (or potentially paying) guests have access to the product of the project. The portions of a project using grant funds must be open for public use or viewing at all times and when visitors are likely.

Permissible uses

Trail Development, Maintenance, Acquisition and Assessment

  • Development and repair or restoration of existing trails,
  • Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities, bridges, signs, and trail linkages,
  • Purchase and lease of trail construction and maintenance equipment, (check rules for match requirement)
  • Construction of new trails (with restrictions for new trails on Federal lands),
  • Acquisition of easements or property for trails, and
  • Assessment of trail conditions for accessibility and needed repair.

Safety, Signing, and Education Projects

  • Development and dissemination of publications and operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection related to the use of recreational trails, including supporting non-law enforcement trail safety and trail use monitoring patrol programs, and providing trail-related training (limited to 5 percent of a State's apportionment, but not required).
    • Please be aware that because of this, the competition is generally very high in this category.
  • These projects must offer training or materials either free to the public, or at a very minimal cost, also see Public Benefit section below. All reimbursable expenses must be allocated to educational materials.

Allowable Labor Costs

  • Labor costs, including force-account labor and contractual services costs that are directly related to and required for completing the project are acceptable and may be reimbursed.
    • Costs shall be based on the actual wage or services rate paid. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Non-profit organizations and public agencies are eligible to apply for the RTP grants.
  • Current grantees are eligible to apply for completely different projects or different phases of the same larger project. 
  • Matching Fund:
    • This program allows for a federal grant share of 90% for ALL applicants. The applicant is responsible for the remaining 10% of the total project cost.
    • Federal agencies applying for grant funds must provide a 5% non-federal match of the total project cost.


  • Businesses and individuals are not eligible for the RTP.
  • Due to the variety of project proposals, it is possible that while a proposed project may satisfy the eligibility and rating criteria, the completed project may not provide adequate public trail use opportunity. Therefore, the DNR reserves the right to disqualify proposals in which:
    • Costs exceed the public benefits.
    • The project only benefits a small number of people.
    • The project is not shovel-ready.
    • The site requires intensive and high-cost future management.
    • Any other situations where the public benefit will not justify the federal investment.
    • Adequate control and tenure of property is not provided.
    • The project manager failed to post the mandatory public notice.
    • There is significant public dislike or concern about the project.
    • This list is not comprehensive and other reasons for disqualification may be determined as projects are reviewed. When a project application is denied for any reason, the project sponsor will be notified in writing.
  • Non-Permissible Uses of Funds
    • Grants are for public purposes and benefits (see public benefit section in this document).
      • They are not intended to provide financial gain to any individual, business, or organization.
      • Applicants must comply with all ordinances, laws, and regulations.
      • Misappropriation of grant funds, or other fraudulent activities may result in criminal prosecution and loss of eligibility to apply for future DPOR or FHWA grants.
    • Grant funds may not be used exclusively for planning, assessment, engineering, or designing.
      • Grant funds may be used for some project planning, assessment, engineering, or design costs if those costs are incidental to one of the permissible project types listed above.
      • The rule of thumb is that this money is intended to be put on the ground in the form of a recreational trail asset (shovels in the soil). If your project can be put in a binder on a shelf and forgotten, it will not meet the intent of this program.
      • Furthermore, grant funds may not be used for planning, designing, developing, or maintaining paved sidewalks and trails along roads, which are primarily intended for transportation rather than recreation.
        • An exception would be a trail that forms an important missing link between two existing recreational trails or recreational trail segments, or trails in rural parts of Alaska used for transportation, subsistence, and recreation.
    • Grant funds may not be used to pay for food, drink, gratuity, tax, sales tax, or court costs involving litigation.
      • However, these costs (except for alcohol) may be documented and used as part of the matching requirement if they are directly related to the accomplishment of the proposed project, and if they are incurred within the grant term.
      • Only approved budget items will be permissible uses of grant funds.
        • **The one exception is food for remote or “spike” camps essential for the completion of the project.
          • If the crew cannot go home at night or access places to buy food, then it is considered remote.
          • These food costs must be clearly identified in the proposed and approved budget as such, and must be reasonable and non-excessive (basic camp food, not steak and lobster).
          • This spike camp food may not simply be identified as “per diem” or “subsistence”. These terms have different and ambiguous meanings and should be clarified. 
        • Common items found on spike camp food receipts that are NOT eligible for reimbursement include newspapers, magazines, prepared coffee/tea (Starbucks), tobacco, toiletries, and personal hygiene products.