MA Recreational Trails Program - Trails Grants

Massachusetts Department of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA)

Grant amount: US $2,000 - US $100,000

Deadline: Feb 1, 2019

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

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Massachusetts

Location of residency: Massachusetts

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The Massachusetts Recreational Trails Program (RTP) generally provides grants for project costs ranging from $2,000 to $50,000. However, larger projects of up to $100,000 will be considered if the project is proven to directly impact multiple communities upon completion. The RTP is a REIMBURSEMENT grant program, meaning grantees must first pay for expenditures themselves and then submit for reimbursement using the required documentation. Grants are awarded for a variety of trail protection, construction, and stewardship projects throughout Massachusetts. RTP is part of the national Recreational Trails Program, which is funded through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Funds are disbursed to each state to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. In Massachusetts, the RTP is administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and grants are reviewed and awarded in partnership with the Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board (MARTAB).

Program legislation requires that portions of funds be reserved for different types of projects. The Recreational Trails Program allocates 30% of its funds to motorized use, 30% to non-motorized use, and 40% to diverse use projects. The Recreational Trails program also requires that projects be primarily recreation- rather than transportation-oriented, and will give priority to projects creating or facilitating physical, on-the-ground trail improvements, which protect or enhance the site's natural and cultural resources, and link individuals and communities to these resources.

Eligible (Permissible Use) Project Categories

  • Construction of new recreational trails
  • Maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails
  • Development and rehabilitation of recreational trailside and trailhead facilities
  • Purchase and lease of recreational trail construction and maintenance equipment
  • Construction of new recreational trails
  • Acquisition of easements and fee simple title to property for recreational trails or recreational trail corridors
  • Assessment of Trail Conditions

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


  • All state, regional, municipal, and some federal government agencies, as well as IRS-approved non-profit organizations are eligible for grants under the program. 
  • Recreational Trails grants are 80-20 challenge grants.
    • In other words, 80% of the project costs are reimbursed to grantees, but at least 20% of the total project value must come from other sources.


  • Ineligible Project Categories:
    • Condemnation of any kind of interest in property
    • Construction of recreational trails on land where the proposed trail use is not permitted or landowner permission/support is not granted
    • Feasibility studies
    • Law enforcement
    • Planning
    • Roads
    • Sidewalks