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Recreational Trails Program

Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Funding Update (Revised 10/21/2013)
Recently, the Governor signed legislation that creates the new Active Transportation Program (to be administered by Caltrans), and enables a portion of the RTP funding to remain with California State Parks. Of the remaining RTP funding, an allocation for non-motorized projects allows OGALS to resume its review of non-motorized RTP applications received on January 9, 2013. RTP non-motorized funding will provide approximately $1.47 million per year, in addition to approximately the same amount available for motorized projects (administered by the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division).   

The next RTP Application Filing Deadline: Unknown, and no earlier than 2015
The current federal RTP funding source, MAP-21, expires September 30, 2014.
OGALS cannot announce a request for new applications until it can verify that a re-authorization of MAP-21 or a new authorization has been signed into law.

Program Guidelines:
The California Department of Parks and Recreation has approved regulations for the Recreational Trails Program.  (Title 14, California Code of Regulations Chapter 11.7, Section 4860)
The regulations incorporate the procedural guide that became effective on August 14, 2008.

Procedural Guide, Final, June 4, 2007
(Valid for applications submitted beginning in 2008 - present)

Program Overview:  The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) provides funds annually for recreational trails and trails-related projects.  The RTP is administered at the federal level by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).  It is administered at the state level by the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).  Non-motorized projects are administered by the Department’s Office of Grants and Local Services and motorized projects are administered by the Department’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division.

Eligible Applicants:
    Cities and Counties
    State Agencies
    Federal Agencies
    Non-Profit Organizations with management responsibilities of public lands

Maximum and Minimum Grant Request: There is no maximum or minimum limit on grant request amounts.

Match Requirement:
  The maximum amount of RTP funds allowed for each project is 88% of the total project cost.  The applicant is responsible for obtaining a match amount that is at least 12% of the total project cost.

Eligible Match Sources:
    State funds, including State Grant funds.
    Local funds, including general funds and bond funds.
    Private funds.
    Donated materials and services.
    Value of donated land (for Acquisition projects only).
    Other federal funds.

Send non-motorized applications to:
     California State Parks
     Office of Grants and Local Services
     P.O. Box 942896
     Sacramento, CA  94296-0001

Send motorized applications to:
     California State Parks
     Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division
     P.O. Box 942896
     Sacramento, CA  94296-0001

Federal Application Requirement:
Unless otherwise noted, all applicants are required to comply with the following after the State recommends the project for funding:

1.  Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and documentation*.

2.  Completion of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 process and documentation, and

3.  Listing of the project on either the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) or a local Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP), as applicable.

4.  For acquisition projects, applicants must obtain an appraisal that conforms to the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions (UASFLA).

*Note completed NEPA is required for projects on federal land prior to the January 9 application due date. 

More information about these federal application requirements can also be found in the RTP Procedural Guide, dated Final, June 4, 2007, on page 51.

Partnership Opportunities:
The Recreational Trails Program encourages applicants to develop cooperative agreements with qualified youth conservation or service corps to perform trail construction and maintenance.  The California Conservation Corps (CCC) is one of the many organizations that can assist with trail construction, maintenance, repair and restoration.  To learn more about how the CCC might be able to assist you, please call (916) 341-3100 or visit the CCC’s Website.

Additional Tools for Preparing Applications:

  Recreational Trails Program Toolkit 2010 (Technical Assistance CD may be requested from
  PowerPoint Overview of the RTP 
  More information about the motorized component of the RTP
  More information about the RTP at the federal level

California State Parks Statewide Trails Section:
The Statewide Trails Section provides education and technical assistance to trail managers, recreation providers, open space managers and non-governmental trails and greenways advocates on non-motorized trail planning, design, construction, funding and management throughout California. To learn more, call (916) 653-9901 or click here.

Previous Procedural Guides

Draft Procedure Guide (January 25, 2007):
(Valid for applications submitted in 2007)

Procedure Guide (June 1, 2006):
(Valid for applications submitted in 2006)

Procedure Guide (March 1999):
(Valid for applications submitted prior to 2006)

 Recreational Trails Funded Projects

 RTP Funding Recommendations Announced 2009 / 2010:
    (Recommended / Not Recommended)

 RTP Funding Recommendations Announced 2008 / 2009:
    (Recommended / Not Recommended