National Recreational Trails

This program funds the development of community-based, motorized and non-motorized recreational trail projects. The program provides funds for all kinds of recreational trail uses, such as pedestrian uses (hiking, running, wheelchair use), bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving.

Administered by the State Highway Administration (SHA), this program matches federal funds with local funds or in-kind contributions to implement trail projects. Projects can be sponsored by a county or municipal government, a private non-profit agency, a community group or an individual (non-governmental agencies must secure an appropriate government agency as a co-sponsor).

Federal funds administered by the State Highway Administration are available for up to 80% of the project cost, matched by at least 20% funding from the project sponsor. Matching funds must be committed and documented in the local jurisdiction's budget. A Memorandum of Understanding outlining funding and project implementation responsibilities will be prepared by SHA and signed by all parties before the project funds are released.

Activities eligible for funding within this program include:

  • maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trail
  • development and rehabilitation of trailside facilities and trail linkages
  • purchase and lease of trail construction equipment
  • construction of new trails
  • acquisition of easements or property for recreational trails or recreational trail corridors
implementation of interpretive/educational programs to promote intrinsic qualities, safety, and environmental protection, as those objectives relate to the use of recreational trails

Preference will be to projects which:

  • have broad-based community support
  • provide linkages to or complete existing trails
  • provide improvements to a trail in order to benefit or mitigate impacts to the natural environment
  • will be accomplished with youth conservation or service groups to perform construction and maintenance

Eligibility of Project Components:
Projects must meet Federal ADA requirements as well as state and federal environmental regulatory requirements (NEPA, MEPA, Section 106, Section 4(f)). SHA will provide assistance to the project sponsor to acquire these approvals.

Prior property acquisition may be counted as an in-kind contribution if it occurred within two years of the proposal submission.

Approval Process:
Potential project sponsors must submit an application, which is screened then forwarded to the Recreational Trails Advisory Committee for review. The recommendation of the Technical Committee and the proposal are forwarded to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation for approval, partial approval or rejection. The chief elected official of the jurisdiction will be notified in writing if the project is approved.

The project sponsor must receive written notification from SHA before the project can proceed.

For Further Information see Important Documents or Contact:

Recreational Trails Coordinator
Maryland State Highway Administration
Office of Environmental Design
Mail Stop C-303
P.O. Box 717
Baltimore, MD 21203-0717
Phone: 410-545-8640 or 1-800-446-5962
FAX: 410-209-5003
e-mail: [email protected]

FY 2010 Grant Announcement (PDF, 39kb)
FY 2010 NRT Application (PDF, 157kb)

Project Guidelines (PDF, 244kb)

Sample Application (PDF, 157kb)