Maine Trails Fund Manual
- 2014 Recreational Trails Program grant application form - Word Doc (644KB)
- Available for all sponsors interested in funding for trail projects in 2014.
- Deadline for this form is November 23, 2013.
- Components of a Successful Proposal
- Financial Policies
- Submitting Applications
- General Application Procedures
- Permitted Uses of Funds
- Non-permitted Uses of Funds
- Specific Recommendations for All Projects
- Specific Instructions for Projects Involving Acquisition of Property Rights
- Grant Procedures
- Reimbursement Guidelines
- Compliance and Construction Inspection
- Record Retention
- Contact Us
- Statewide Recreation Plan - formally titled the Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)
The National Highway Systems Act transfers federal gas taxes paid on non-highway recreational fuel used on off-highway vehicles from the Highway Trust Fund into the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) for trail development, improvement and maintenance. The RTP is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) which works with state agencies to pass funding through to local project sponsors.
The Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL), Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, has been designated by the Governor as the state agency to administer the RTP in Maine. Within the Bureau, the Division of Grants and Community Recreation provides day-to-day supervision of the RTP.
The State provides monies received under this act as grants to state, county, or municipal agencies, and nonprofit organizations* under guidelines established by the FHWA and policies developed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands in conjunction with the Maine Trails Advisory committee.
*As part of the application process, a nonprofit organization is required to verify its status by providing documentation and its federal tax identification number.
1. A successful proposal will reflect good planning and demonstrate:
- who you are, who you serve;.
- how successful your program is;
- how you identify needs;
- how you create solutions to problems.
2. Provide documentation when it is called for; include hard facts, not just anecdotal comments (make no unsupported assumptions or statements).
3. Describe the outcome of the project in specific, measurable terms. Tell who is going to do what, when, where, how much it will cost, and why it is needed.
RTP legislation requires that each state use 40% of its apportioned funds for diverse (or combination) recreational trail use, 30% for motorized recreation, and 30% for non motorized recreation. The 40-30-30 requirement applies to on-the-ground trail projects as well as to Safety and Environmental educational projects.
The diverse, motorized, and non motorized percentages are minimum requirements that must be met, and may be exceeded. A project that meets the diverse (combined) motorized use (snowmobiles and ATVs) may satisfy the 40% diverse use requirement and the 30% motorized use requirement simultaneously. A project for diverse non motorized use (pedestrian and bicycle) may satisfy the 40% diverse requirement and the 30% non motorized requirement simultaneously.
The RTP also permits a state to use up to 7% of the monies received annually for administrative costs and up to 5% annually for the operation of environmental protection programs and safety education programs related to trail use.
Applications must be delivered to the Bureau of Parks & Lands on or before the announced deadline date. Applications may be mailed but must have a postmark on or before the announced deadline. FAX copies will not be accepted.
RTP funding is on an 80%/20% basis. The federal share of a project may be up to 80% of a project's total cost or the maximum grant amount as set by BP&L. The sponsor's match may consist of cash or the value of donated services and/or materials. NOTE: The sponsor must be prepared to pay project costs in full as they are incurred prior to submitting requests for reimbursement of the federal share.
Projects of major significance may be granted exemption from the maximum grant award. Contact state project officer for more information.
An amount to be determined by BPL staff and approved by the Trails Advisory Committee may be set aside annually for bureau trail projects. If the full amount of this set-aside is not used for state purposes, the balance will be made available to fund local projects.
Projects will be selected based on their ability to meet established criteria.
The RTP stipulates that a state must establish measures to verify that recipients comply with the conditions set for use of grant monies.
RTP project applicants shall submit, by the announced deadline, an original and five (5) copies of an RTP Project Application to the Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) with the applicable support documentation.
The project application will be reviewed, rated, and ranked by a review committee using criteria and priorities approved by the Bureau and the Maine Trails Advisory Committee. Project applicants will receive notice of approval or disapproval in writing. Projects receiving approval will be included in BPL's consolidated application to the FHWA. Upon receipt of FHWA approval, a project agreement between the State and the project sponsor will be signed.
Upon receipt of a fully executed project agreement, the sponsor may initiate acquisition/development activities.
Project costs for which reimbursement will be sought cannot be incurred by the sponsor until after notification of grant approval. Costs incurred prior to grant approval are ineligible for grant assistance.
Development costs are considered incurred on the date construction contracts are signed, or actual physical work begins on the project site, or project materials are delivered.
Acquisition costs are incurred when:
- Property deed, easement, lease, or other conveyance is accepted by the project sponsor.
- First payment is made on the subject property or to an escrow account/agency for the property. In addition, no purchase agreement, option, etc. or prior negotiations shall be entered into prior to project approval.
Required submissions by sponsors, during the course of the project:
- Project progress reports;
- Requests for reimbursement.
A. Trail Development/Maintenance/Acquisition Grants:
- Redesign, reconstruction, non-routine maintenance or relocation of trails in order to mitigate and minimize impacts to the natural environment.
- Some costs associated with structure design or engineering, or GPS mapping, when included with trail development.
- Trail development and renovation activities (such as sub-grade preparation, base course, soil sterilization, earthwork, erosion control, revegetation, natural and hardened surfacing, culverts, low-water crossings, bank improvements, gabions, retaining walls, guard rails, and hand rails.
- Bridges, and boardwalks may be constructed, repaired, or replaced.
- Development of trailside and trailhead facilities including trail components or associated public facilities that enhance the purpose and safe use of the recreational trail; e.g. parking, signage, public shelters, hitching rails, bike racks, fencing, motorized access barriers, under passes, and water, sanitary and access facilities.
- Acquisition of easements for trails or trail corridors identified in a trail plan.
- Acquisition of fee simple title to property to be used for trails or trail corridors, from a willing seller, when lesser interests cannot be acquired.
- Construction of new trails on state, county, municipal, or private land where a recreational need has been identified.
- Construction of new trails crossing federal lands where such construction is approved by the administering state or federal agency charged with management of the impacted lands.
B. Safety Education/Environmental Education Grants
A maximum of 5% of the State's annual appropriation may be used for the operation of educational programs designed to promote safety and/or environmental protection related to recreational trail use. Examples include, but are not limited to; trail safety signage programs; programs or activities (including printed material) intended to educate users regarding environmental issues. Contact State Project Officer for Safety/Environmental Education Grant Applications.
- Planning projects or environmental documentation efforts.
- Road construction, sidewalks, gardening/landscaping, parks or park equipment, lighting, sprinklers, or campgrounds.
- Condemnation of any kind of interest in property.
- Construction of recreational trails for motorized uses on National Forest land that has been recommended for Wilderness designation.
- Upgrading for motorized use trails predominantly used for non-motorized uses and on which motorized use is either prohibited or has not occurred.
- Indirect costs such as food, lodging, benefits. etc.
Projects selected for funding should:
- Follow guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in providing for trail access and consideration of the needs of the elderly and families with children.
- Further a trail-related goal in the Maine Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) or local/regional comprehensive plan.
- Include a commitment for long-term public access and maintenance.
- Have written permission of land owner(s), manager(s).
- Include a commitment to starting and completing the project quickly and efficiently.
- Provide for trail use in a manner sensitive to the environment.
- Plan for the needs of the widest variety of trail uses and accommodate them safely.
- Projects that will involve work on private land will be required to enter into an easement or other legally binding agreement with the land owner that ensures public access to the recreational trail.
- Projects that include structural development (bridges, shelters, etc.) are required to have plans and specifications approved by a professional engineer prior to the beginning of development.
Projects that contemplate the acquisition of property rights (fee simple, easement) must comply with the terms of Title II and Title III of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policy Act of 1970 and the applicable requirements and procedures implementing such act and other provisions of federal laws and executive orders as identified in the Project Agreement and General Provisions.
Property rights acquired using RTP funds may be subject to the retention and control requirements of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965. Projects involving acquisition may require an extended time line once approved due to the need for appraisal and appraisal review and securing any necessary permits. Applicants must allow for these factors in planning an acquisition project.
Costs allowable under federal share of project - note - sponsors will be required to follow federal regulations (including solicitation of bids/quotes for services and/or materials) for expenditure of project funds.
I. Development Projects
A. Design/Engineering costs of a consultant: costs of an outside consultant employed to perform design/engineering services - usually on a lump sum basis (limited to 10% of grant amount).
B. Direct labor costs: cost of labor performed by laborers hired directly and paid by sponsor, usually on an hourly basis (donated or "in-kind" labor may count as part of a sponsor's match).
C. Purchase of services: cost of special services (carpenter, mason, electrical, etc.) Hired on a contract or hourly basis.
D. Construction contracts: cost of contracts for specific work solicited by public bid or by quote.
E. Rental of equipment: cost of renting equipment such as bulldozers, trucks, or other large pieces used in the development of a trail project.
F. Purchase of materials: cost of construction materials ( such as loam, gravel, lumber) purchased for use on a trails project. Materials may be donated and market value used as "in-kind" match.
G. Permit fees required by federal, state or local law. Note: verifiable costs of volunteer labor or other services (for example, engineering), donated materials or equipment may constitute all or a portion of the local 20% match required for a project but are not reimbursable.
II. Acquisition Projects
A. Costs of surveys of land proposed for purchase.
B. Cost of appraisals of property proposed for purchase
C. Other legal fees associated with the proposed purchase of land.
D. Purchase of interest in real property (for example, easements).
E. Purchase of fee simple title to property from a willing seller.
RTP grants are awarded on a reimbursement basis; therefore the grant recipient must pay project bills for eligible costs before submitting a request for reimbursement of the approved federal share. Reimbursement from the federal government and BPL will normally take 6-8 weeks. Failure to provide required documentation will result in delays in the reimbursement process.
Project progress inspections may be conducted by state or federal representatives. BPL representatives may at any time inspect the property and review the grant recipient's RTP records and files. Upon notification of project completion, BPL will inspect projects and prepare a written report. Recommendations for corrective action will be made if appropriate. A copy of the report will be sent to the grant recipient. Deficiencies, if any, shall be corrected and reported in writing to BPL within 4 weeks of the inspection report.
All program and financial records shall be retained by the grant recipient for state or federal audit purposes following the closing date of the project. At a minimum, the following records shall be retained and made available:
A. Invoices for purchased materials (including donated materials).
B. Invoices for all design and construction costs (including donated services).
C. Copies of signed time sheets for all donated labor.
D. Canceled checks or copies.
Supervisor of Outdoor Recreation
Bureau of Parks and Lands
124 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333