Recreational Trails Program - North Carolina Trails Grant Program

North Carolina State Parks

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Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $100,000

Next deadline: Apr 8, 2020 (Pre proposal)

Later deadlines: Sep 11, 2020 (Full proposal)

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

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: North Carolina

Location of residency: North Carolina

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About this funder:



The RTP is a federal grant program authorized by Congress in 2012 as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). The intent of the RTP is to help fund trails and trail-related recreational needs at the State level. Funding for the RTP comes from federal gas taxes paid on non-highway fuel used in off-highway vehicles, and the program is administered at the Federal level by the Federal Highway Administration.

At the State level, the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has assigned that responsibility to the Division of Parks and Recreation and its NC Trails Program. The North Carolina Trails Committee is a seven-member advisory committee who will review all applications and make recommendations for funding. The Secretary of DNCR has the final approval authority for North Carolina.

The Division of Parks & Recreation (DPR), the North Carolina Trails Program, and the North Carolina Trails Committee (NCTC) value trail projects that are legal, safe, and managed, providing connectivity, reasonable public access and parking. The North Carolina Trails Program Staff are ready, willing, and available to assist in all phases of the application process of projects that are construction ready for grant funding. These sustainable, shovel-ready projects leverage local funds to meet recreational trail and trail-needs, in an effort to provide low infrastructure economic development opportunities through natural resource tourism. The NC Trails Program Staff are also available to assist applicants with conceptual projects, in order to meet the technical requirements of an RTP Grant before applying.

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


  • Grants are available to: Governmental agencies & non-profit organizations
  • North Carolina Trails Program will award RTP grants to projects that are:
    • On lands owned in fee simple or easements that are held in perpetuity by a governmental agency, provided that the public is allowed use of the trail or facilities.
    • On lands owned in fee simple or easements that are held in perpetuity by a nonprofit organization, provided that the public is allowed use of the trail or facilities.
    • On lands that are leased by a governmental agency or non-profit organization for a minimum of 10 years, provided that the public is allowed use of the trail or facilities.
  • Match Requirement: 25% of RTP funds received. 
  • Any trail project funded in part with RTP grant funds shall remain open to the public for a minimum period of 10 years.
  • Permitted uses of RTP funds: 
    • Construction of new trails on state, county, municipal, or conveyed easements across private lands, where a recreational need for such construction is shown
    • Construction of new trails crossing federal lands, where such construction is approved by the administering agency charged with management of all impacted lands
    • Development of urban trail linkages
    • Maintenance of existing recreational trails
    • Restoration of areas damaged by usage of recreational trails and back country terrain.
    • Development of trail-side and trail-head facilities with preference for trail-head and trail information signs and parking areas; and consideration given to restrooms, drinking fountains, and other trail side facilities
    • Development of a canoe/kayak access facilities and camping platforms
    • Provision of features which facilitate the access and use of trails by persons with disabilities
    • Acquisition of easements for trails
    • Acquisition of fee-simple title to property from a willing seller for trail use, when the objective of the acquisition cannot be accomplished by acquisition of an easement or by other means
    • Planning, design, engineering, permitting, and environmental compliance study costs of up to 10% of any RTP grant award
    • Acquisition of trail construction and maintenance tools and/or equipment
    • Rental of trail construction and maintenance tools and equipment


  • Non-permitted uses of RTP grant funds: 
    • Trail brochures and maps
    • Condemnation of any kind of interest in property
    • Construction of any recreational trail on National Forest System lands for motorized uses, unless such lands (other than wilderness areas) are otherwise consistent with the management direction in such approved land and resource management plan and are permitted
    • Upgrading, expanding or otherwise facilitating motorized use or access to trails predominantly used by non-motorized trail users, and on which, as of May 1, 1991, motorized use is either prohibited or has not occurred
    • Feasibility Studies
    • Law Enforcement
    • Railroads
    • Roads
    • Sidewalks
    • Wilderness areas
    • Construction of any recreational trail on Bureau of Land Management land for any motorized use unless the land has been designated for uses other than wilderness by an approved BLM resource management plan or has been released to uses other than wilderness by an Act of Congress; and the construction is otherwise consistent with the management direction in the approved management plan.