VT Recreational Trails Program (RTP)

Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

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Grant amount: Up to US $50,000

Next deadline: Oct 31, 2019 (Pre proposal)

Later deadlines: Dec 17, 2019 (Full proposal)

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

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: Vermont

Location of residency: Vermont

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The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a federally funded program of the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), administered at the State level to help States develop and maintain recreational trails, trail-related facilities and trailheads. Both motorized and non-motorized trail projects may qualify for RTP funds.

The goal of this program is to provide grants to develop and maintain a wide variety of recreational trails for public use throughout Vermont.

RTP provides funds for a wide range of outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, biking, walking, running, water-based trail use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicular riding, or using other off-road motorized recreational vehicles, in-line skating, and equestrian use.

It is the aim of RTP to develop and maintain trails to the highest level of sustainability & accessibility feasible. The capacity to increase accessibility may be limited by terrain, cost, & potential difficulties for construction in bringing in equipment & supplies, so we ask you to review the requirements and considerations needed so we’re contributing to making trails more accessible. Be sure to address trail sustainability and accessibility in your application, and in your proposed work plan

Eligible Project Categories

  • Maintenance and restoration of existing trails;
  • Development and rehabilitation of trails, trailside and trailhead facilities, and trail linkages;
  • Purchase and rental fees for trail construction and trail maintenance equipment or tools necessary to carry out eligible projects;
  • Construction of new trails (see below restrictions for new trails on some Federal lands;
  • Acquisition of trail easements or property with existing recreational trail corridors;
  • Assessment of trail conditions for accessibility and maintenance;
  • Educational Programs:
    • Limited to 5 percent of the State’s apportionment of RTP funds –
    • Must be used for development or dissemination of trail-user educational materials or publications for trail users; statewide trail information, operation of educational programs to promote safety & environmental protection related to trails (non-law enforcement), trail safety efforts, trail use monitoring patrol programs, public education efforts to promote appropriate trail uses;

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


  • Municipalities, non-profit organizations, and other governmental entities may apply.
  • You may apply for a grant for 80% of a trail project's estimated cost, up to $50,000.  
    • Applicants must come up with 20% of the project cost as the sponsor's match (also referred to as the sponsor's "share")


  • Recreational Trails Program funds may not be used for:
    • Advertising;
    • Appraisal and legal fees related to acquisitions;
    • Property Condemnation of any kind (eminent domain); 
    • Construction of trails within a federally designated wilderness area;
    • Contingencies;
    • Upgrading, expanding, or otherwise facilitating motorized use or access to recreational trails predominantly used by non-motorized recreational users, and on which, as of May 1, 1991, motorized use was prohibited or had not occurred;
    • Facilities that are ornamental and do not have a direct benefit to trail users;
    • Feasibility studies & trail planning: Trail feasibility studies are not among the permissible uses in the RTP legislation. The permissible uses relate to actual on-the-ground trail projects. Therefore, a project proposal for the sole purpose of planning or performing a trail feasibility study would not be eligible. 
    • Food for volunteers working on a project;
    • Costs associated with fund raising;
    • Law enforcement;
    • Lodging;
    • Payments which are not in compliance with relevant state or federal laws or regulations;
    • Payments in conflict with 501(C)(3) regulations such as payment of board members;
    • Promotional items (t-shirts, patches, caps, buttons, pens, etc. promoting an organization);
    • Railroads: Before approving a trail on a railroad right-of-way, States must ensure that the railroad has been rail banked, and the trail project has a legal right to be located on the railroad right-of-way;
    • Roads: RTP funds may not be used to improve roads for general passenger vehicle use;
    • If Vermont towns designate class IV roads to be used for recreational use(s), and you are applying to maintain a class IV road that has been designated by the town for recreational use, a completed Class IV road resolution form must accompany the grant application;
    • Sidewalks adjacent to public roads; RTP funds should not be used to provide shoulders or sidewalks along roads unless the shoulders or sidewalks are necessary to complete a trail link; 
    • Paved multi-use/bike paths; (NOTE: if you are planning on developing a paved path, contact the Vermont Agency of Transportation Local Facilities section)
    • Publication reprints;
    • Purchase of tools or equipment that would be used for other than trail purposes; 
    • Trail work on land where landowner permission for public access for public use of trails has not been granted;
    • Value of citizen volunteer’ time at public forums or public meetings;