SC Recreational Trails Program (RTP)

South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism

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

Deadline: Jan 31, 2020 (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Government Entity For-Profit Business Nonprofit College / University Elementary / Secondary School

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: South Carolina

Location of residency: South Carolina

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The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) administers the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) under the approval of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). This federally funded program receives its funding from a portion of federal gas taxes paid on fuel used in non-highway recreational vehicles. Funds can be spent on both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail projects to construct new recreational trails, improve/maintain existing trails, develop/improve trailhead or trailside facilities and acquire trail corridors. Funding provided by this program is on a cost reimbursement basis. Project sponsors must initiate their approved projects with their own funds and be reimbursed up to 80 percent of allowable costs after submitting documentation of expenses.

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a federal-aid assistance program designed to help states provide and maintain recreational trails for both motorized and nonmotorized recreational trail use.

  • Two-year grant cycle. 
  • Administered by the Federal Highway Administration. 
  • Develop or improve trails for off-road motorcycles, ATVs, mountain bikes, equestrians,hikers and water trails. 
  • A 20% match is required — project sponsors make payments (100%) up front and are eligible for reimbursement of up to 80% of total cost.

All applications graded utilizing a competitive Open Project Selection Process (OPSP) reviewed by a grading team. 

Permitted Uses:

  • Construction of new recreational trails open to the public on state, county, municipal or private lands where a recreational need for such construction is shown. 
  • Construction of new recreation trails crossing federal land if the project is consistent with resources management plans. Approval will be contingent upon compliance with all applicable laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act and the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. 
  • Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages for recreational trails. Trailside and trailhead facilities includes trail components or associated facilities which serve the purpose and safe use of the recreational trail, and may include, but are not limited to, the following: drainage, crossings, stabilization, parking, signage, controls, shelters, hitching rails, bike racks, fencing, motorized access barriers, underpasses, and water, sanitary, and access facilities. 
  • Acquisition of easements or fee simple title from a willing seller to property for recreational trails or recreational trail corridors. Only governmental agencies are  allowed to purchase property. 
  • Maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails. 
  • Lease of recreational trail construction and maintenance equipment. 
  • Provide access and use of recreational trails by persons with disabilities. 
  • Redesign, reconstruction, nonroutine maintenance or relocation of recreational trails to benefit the natural environment or to mitigate and minimize the impact to the natural environment. 
  • No more than 5% of total project costs on construction engineering or planning costs (environmental evaluation and documentation, permits or approvals).

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


  • Eligible sponsors include state, federal and municipal government agencies or qualified private organizations.
    • Private organizations include for-profit or registered nonprofit organizations that operate recreational facilities open to the public.
    • Nonprofit organizations must meet all of the following requirements to be determined eligible to receive RTP grant funds:
      • Nonprofit organizations which are registered at the time of application with the Secretary of State under South Carolina's Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act are eligible.
      • Nonprofit organizations determined at the time of application by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be a tax-exempt organization pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are eligible.
        • All nonprofit organizations need to include a copy of their IRS tax-exempt letter with their project application.
    • Forprofit and Nonprofit applicants are required to have at least one full-time staff that can be reached during normal business hours.
    • In addition, the organizations personnel must demonstrate financial ability to execute and maintain/operate project and deed restrict property for twenty-five years.
  • RTP requires the sponsor provide 20% of the total project cost. RTP will reimburse only up to 80% of the total project cost.  
  • Your project should be shovel ready by July following the full application deadline.


  • The trails program encourages community-based partnerships.


  • An organization described in section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code which engages in lobbying activities is not eligible.
  • Uses Not Permitted: 
    • Condemnation of any kind of interest in property. 
    • Construction of new recreation trails for motorized use on National Forest or Bureau of Land Management lands that have been recommended for Wilderness designation. 
    • Upgrading, expanding, or otherwise facilitating motorized use or access to recreational trails predominantly used by nonmotorized recreational trail users and on which, as of May 1, 1991, motorized use was prohibited or had not occurred.
    • Road construction or sidewalks. 
    • Purchase of recreational trail construction and maintenance equipment. 
    • Administrative staff time, overhead or indirect charges are not allowable charges. 
    • Feasibility studies. 
    • Playground equipment.