This grant program is currently accepting pre-applications through December 30, 2023.
Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grants are federally funded on an annual basis through the United States Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and are administered at the State level in Vermont through the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR). FPR makes RTP funds available to Vermont communities for the development and maintenance of public recreational trails, for both motorized and non-motorized recreation. Federal rules and requirements apply. In the 2024 grant round, we anticipate awarding approximately $500,000 to maintain and build trails across the state of Vermont.
Please use the links below to locate information on this page:
- Pre-application submission deadline: December 30, 2023
- Full application submission deadline: February 11, 2024
- Grant application review and selection: mid-February - May 2024
- This process requires multiple steps, including scoring and review by the Ranking Committee, FPR agency approval, and Federal Highway Administration authorization
- Grant agreement development: May - September 2024
- This process includes compliance reviews (Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, state risk assessment, etc.), drafting, state contracting, legal reviews, and applicant review.
- Depending on the complexity of the project, how responsive applicants are to requests for additional information, and the results of any compliance reviews, grant agreements may be executed earlier or later during this timeframe.
- Grant implementation: grant agreement execution date through December 31, 2026.
- Applicants should plan for projects to begin no earlier than October 1, 2024.
All projects funded should help achieve the program’s goal of developing and maintaining trails in proximity to all who live in and visit Vermont. Furthermore, all projects are required to help achieve the goals, objectives and priorities found in the Vermont's Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). Federal legislation mandates that RTP funds are allocated across three categories: 30% for non-motorized trail uses, 30% for motorized trail uses, and 40% for multi-use/diversified trail uses.
Who is eligible to apply for RTP grants:
- Municipalities (cities, towns, counties, etc.)
- Non-profit organizations
- State or Federal government agencies, other governmental entities (district or local authorities), or tribal governments
Eligible projects include:
- Maintenance/restoration of existing trails
- Construction of new trails, with certain limitations for projects on federal lands
- Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead amenities, facilities, parking areas (i.e., signage, kiosks, composting toilets, recycle receptacles, or trail structures along the trail, directly associated with the trail)
- Land Acquisitions: Acquisition of trail easements or fee simple title to property with trails or recreational trail corridors
- Educational projects
Reimbursement and Match Requirements
RTP is a reimbursement program, and grantees must be capable of financing the project and (after a grant agreement is fully executed) first paying for expenditures and then submitting a request to the State for reimbursement using the required documentation. Applicants must commit to a minimum 20% match (20% of the total estimated project cost).
Projects must demonstrate compliance with State and Federal regulations including but not limited to:
- National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
- Endangered Species Act
- Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act
- Executive Orders (which include but are not limited to Floodplain Management, Wetlands Protection, Build America/Buy America, Civil Rights Act)
- The State’s Permitting Processes
This year, there is two-step application process that begins with a short pre-application submission. Pre-application submissions will be reviewed for compliance with the RTP program. Selected applicants will then be invited to submit a proposal for full review. Please note: the RTP application process has significantly changed from previous years!
How to Submit a Pre-Application
To submit your pre-application, submit the following materials by 11:59 PM on December 30, 2023.
- Complete the “Pre-Application: Part 1” online form.
- Email the following three documents to ANR.FPRRecreationGrants@vermont.gov
Incomplete proposals will not be considered after December 30, 2023, so be sure to complete BOTH the form and email your additional documents before that time.
The 2024 RTP Project Development and Pre-Application Guidance Document provides additional information, directions, and clarification around the application process, project planning, the review process, and pre-application content.
We are offering multiple opportunities for applicants to ask questions about the 2024 RTP Grant Program.
Grant Program Webinar
Tuesday, December 5, 2023, 1:00-2:00 PM
The webinar will include a presentation explaining the goals of the grant program, an overview of the process, and eligible activities. There will be time at the end of the session for questions from attendees.
Open Office Hours
Wednesday, December 13, 2023, 3:00-4:00 PM
FPR staff will host a virtual open office session for prospective applicants to learn more details about the grant program and ask questions. Open office hours will be recorded and posted on this RTP webpage. To access the open office hours, visit the webpage and click the links below the Open Office Hour times.
- Join Meeting
- Or call in (audio only)
- +1 802-828-7667
- Phone Conference ID: 454 505 527#
Our goal is to give everyone an equal opportunity to connect with us. Due to our current staff capacity, we are unable to meet 1:1 with every prospective applicant during the pre-application phase. If the webinar and open office hours don’t work for you, please email your questions to us at ANR.FPRrecreationgrants@vermont.gov. We will only meet 1:1 with applicants if we are unable to fully address questions via email.
Recordings from Past Information Sessions
- 4-min RTP Info Session: Considerations for a Strong RTP Application
- 10-min RTP Info Session: Permits and Permit Requirements for RTP Projects
- 60-min Recorded Trail Building & Maintenance Webinar (A Town Forest Recreation Planning Webinar Series Session)
Federal Fiscal Year 2022 (FFY22) Program
Awards for this grant round were announced in August 2022. Announcements for the 2023 grantees will be made by January 2024.
For this funding round, the Recreational Trails Program had $511,278 to award to non-profit organizations and municipalities for community trail projects across Vermont. Grant maximums were capped at $30,000, with no minimum. 20% match was required.
Award Recipients Announced
After receiving 28 full grant applications and over $1 million in requests, we are delighted to announce the 12 projects that are receiving awards:
- Check out the FY22 award recipients.
For more information about the RTP please email email@example.com.
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