Recreational Trails Program in Florida (RTP)

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

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Grant amount: US $50,000 - US $1,000,000

Anticipated deadline: Feb 1, 2020

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Capital Project, Applied Project / Program, Education / Outreach

Location of project: Florida

Location of residency: Florida

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Overview:

The Recreational Trails Program is a federally funded competitive grant program that provides financial assistance to agencies of city, county, state or federal governments, and organizations, approved by the state, or state and federally recognized Indian tribal governments, for the development of recreational trails, trailheads and trailside facilities. The program has been shifted from the Office of Greenways and Trails to DEP's Land and Recreation Grants Section within the Division of State Lands.

INTRODUCTION

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 included the National Recreational Trails Fund Act (NRFTA) which established the National Recreational Trails Funding Program. The National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 (NHS Act) amended and revived the NRTFA. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century amended and provided assured funding for the program and changed the program name to Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The purpose of RTP is to provide funds for projects that provide or maintain recreational trails. A recreational trail means:

A thoroughfare or track across land or water, used for recreational purposes such as bicycling, day hiking, equestrian activities, jogging or similar fitness activities, trail biking, overnight and long-distance backpacking, roller skating, in-line skating, running, aquatic or water activity and vehicular travel by motorcycle, four-wheel drive, all terrain off-road vehicles, or dune buggies.

The RTP is administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Grant application proposals are evaluated according to policies and procedures described in Chapter 62S-2, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). This is commonly known as the Recreational Trails Rule. Applicants should familiarize themselves with these policies and procedures. This packet will assist all applicants in preparing and presenting the information needed for DEP to evaluate proposed RTP applications.

GENERAL APPLICATION INFORMATION

A request for financial assistance under RTP may be for development or maintenance of recreational trails; purchase of trail construction or maintenance equipment; and if funds are available, for trail education projects. Project proposals may address the following recreational trail interests:

  • motorized recreation;
  • nonnmotorized recreation;
  • mixed-use projects (either motorized or nonmotorized); or projects that provide for innovative corridor sharing with motorized and nonmotorized recreation;
  • construction and maintenance equipment.

Development projects should consist of the complete or partial development of the project site. Grantees shall have up to two (2) years from the effective date of the project agreement to complete the development project. A development project, when completed, must be a usable recreational trail or a trail facility along a usable recreational trail.

Grantees requesting funds to purchase equipment should be prepared to provide proof of insurance, be capable of properly storing and maintaining the equipment, and be familiar with Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program Interim Guidance, and DEP’s Directive 320 as they relate to equipment and surplus property. All equipment purchased with RTP grant funds will be receive a DEP property number.

Grantees may use RTP funds to develop trails, trailhead and trailside facilities and related support facilities including parking, rest rooms, access to drinking water, etc. Development projects may also renovate existing trails and facilities in order to provide access for persons with disabilities. 

RTP program requires that the grantee provide matching funds. Please refer to Chapter 62S-2.071(3), F.A.C. for complete information on match requirements and match types. 

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

Eligibility:

  • Eligible applicants include:
    • all local governmental entities and state or federal agencies,
    • federally or state recognized indian tribal governments which have the legal responsibility for the provision of outdoor recreational sites and facilities for the use and benefit of the public, and
    • organizations recognized as active Florida non-profit corporations which have an agreement with government agency to develop public lands.
  • Eligible project sites: 
    •  The site of a proposed RTP project shall be on public lands.
    • The site shall be owned by the applicant or government on or before the closing date of the application submission period.
    • A site not owned by the applicant or government shall be under the applicant’s or government’s control by a 99-year lease or similar control, such that the applicant has the legal ability to dedicate and manage the site for public recreational trail use pursuant to subsections 62S-2.076(1) and (2), F.A.C.
  • Permissible uses of RTP grant funds:
    • Maintenance or renovation of existing trails;
    • Development or renovation of trailside or trailhead facilities or trail linkages;
    • Purchase of trail construction or maintenance equipment;
    • Construction of new trails on local and state lands;
    • Construction of new trails crossing federal lands;
    • Operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection which specifically relate to the uses of recreational trails, to the extent the Department has not chosen to use the educational funds in whole or in part, to further a statewide goal of the Greenways and Trails Plan.
  • The RTP grant is provided on a 50:50, 60:40, or 80:20 matching ratio (program: grantee). 

Ineligibility:

  • A grantee with two incomplete RTP projects by the closing date of the application submission period shall not be eligible to apply.
  • School board property used primarily for educational or school related purposes is not eligible.