Recreational Trails Funding Program
In lieu of a 2013 application, this one page pre-application form is required to be sent in by September 14, 2012.
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 (BP&L), Maine Department
of Conservation, 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.
Components of a successful proposal:
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
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.
Recreational Trails Program Financial
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
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
An amount to be determined by BP&L 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
The RTP stipulates that a state must establish measures to
verify that recipients comply with the conditions set for
use of grant monies.
General Application Procedures
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 & Lands (BP&L) with the applicable
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
BP&L'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.
During the course of the project, sponsors will be required
to submit (a) project progress reports; (b) requests for reimbursement.
Permitted uses of Recreational Trails
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
Bridges, and boardwalks may be constructed, repaired,
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
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.
Uses Not Permitted
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
Upgrading for motorized use trails predominantly used
for nonmotorized uses and on which motorized use is either
prohibited or has not occurred.
Indirect costs such as food, lodging, benefits. etc.
Specific Recommendations for all Projects
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
Include a commitment for long-term public access and
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
Specific Instructions for Projects Involving Acquisition
of Property Rights
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
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).
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).
Purchase of services: cost of special services (carpenter,
mason, electrical, etc.) Hired on a contract or hourly
Construction contracts: cost of contracts for specific
work solicited by public bid or by quote.
Rental of equipment: cost of renting equipment such as
bulldozers, trucks, or other large pieces used in the
development of a trail project.
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.
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
Costs of surveys of land proposed for purchase.
Cost of appraisals of property proposed for purchase
Other legal fees associated with the proposed purchase
Purchase of interest in real property (for example, easements).
Purchase of fee simple title to property from a willing
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
BP&L will normally take 6-8 weeks. Failure to provide
required documentation will result in delays in the reimbursement
Compliance and Construction Inspection
Project progress inspections may be conducted by state or
federal representatives. BP&L representatives may at any
time inspect the property and review the grant recipient's
RTP records and files. Upon notification of project completion,
BP&L 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 BP&L 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:
Invoices for purchased materials (including donated materials).
Invoices for all design and construction costs (including
Copies of signed time sheets for all donated labor.
Canceled checks or copies.