Q. How can we get funds for trail work?
A. Partnering with volunteers and agencies/organizations offers creative ways to get funds, materials and labor for trail work. See the Corps success stories under the heading of "Creating and Improving Trails" on the Partners in Action page.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FWHA) provides assistance through the Recreational Trails Program. The FHWA is the largest single source of funding for shared use paths, trails, and related projects in the United States. Until 1991, Federal highway funds could be used only for highway projects or specific independent bicycle transportation facilities. Now, bicycle transportation and pedestrian projects and programs are eligible for nearly all major Federal highway funding programs. Recreational trails are eligible under the Recreational Trails Program.
Q. Where can I find information on trail design and construction?
A. The Corps offers detailed specifications for trails in EM 1110-2-410, dated 31 December 1982, "Design of Recreation Areas and Facilities - Access and Circulation." Also check the References page and the Related Sites page for additional resources. The Good Enough to Share page includes some scopes of work for trail construction and maintenance.
Q. Where can I find information on accessibility for trails?
A. The National Center for Accessibility is a collaborative program of Indiana University and the National Park Service, and is the nations premiere resource promoting access for people with disabilities in recreation. NCA has played a critical role in increasing awareness of inclusion of people with disabilities in parks, recreation and tourism while advancing the spirit and intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act and other disability legislation. Through the comprehensive services of research, technical assistance, and education, NCA focuses on universal design and practical accessibility solutions creating inclusive recreation opportunities for people of all abilities.
Additionally, the Accessibility pages on the Gateway have a wealth of information.
Q. What is the Universal Trail Assessment Process?
A. The Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) objectively documents the actual conditions in outdoor, natural environments. The UTAP is a tool that land managers, agencies, and individuals can utilize to learn about, monitor, improve, and use on any outdoor path of travel. More information can be found at http://www.beneficialdesigns.com/services/trails-shared-use-path-assessments/the-universal-trail-assessment-process-utap.
Q. Under the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), if a state selects a project for funding and something happens that delays the project, are those funds lost, pulled back, carried over - what happens?
A. Once obligated, funds for an RTP project (or any regular Federal-aid highway program project) are available for expenditure for 5 years after the last possible date that the funds could have been obligated. See http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rectrails/rtp9908_pt1.htm#page11, and scroll to Obligation and Spending Deadlines. If a project is not moving forward, states are encouraged to stop the project, deobligate the funds, and put the funds on another project that is ready to move forward. At the point in time when the first project is ready to move forward, new funds are obligated.
Q. While applying for transportation enhancement (TE) or Recreational Roads projects, is it smart to have one eligible stakeholder sponsor the application over another, i.e., does an application have a greater chance to be approved by a state if a federal agency or other eligible applicant, other than the Corps, submits it?
A. It depends. In California, only a unit of state or local government can apply for RTP funds. Federal agencies must make their application through a unit of state or local government. I've also heard that Colorado has some restrictions on federal agencies. In most, if not all, other states, a federal agency can apply for RTP (or TE) funds just like any other public entity. Most states are happy to work with public entities and prefer to work with government entities rather than the nonprofits.
Q. Can Recreational Trail monies be used for "water trails"? Are there any examples out there?
A. Yes. Here is the RTP guidance: The definition of recreational trail in the RTP legislation includes aquatic or water activities. Therefore, water trails are eligible for funding. Canoe, kayak, or rowboat trails may count toward a state's 30 percent nonmotorized requirement. Motorboat or personal water craft trails may count toward a state's 30 percent motorized requirement. However, water trails and related facilities (such as boat launches and aquatic resource education programs) are eligible under the Wallop-Breaux aquatic resources program administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The Wallop-Breaux Trust Fund receives its funding in part based on an estimate of motorboat fuel use. The RTP funding originally was intended to be attributable to fuel use by snowmobiles, off-road motorcycles, ATVs, and light trucks. States should consider the most appropriate funding source for water trails and related projects and for land trails and related projects.
Water Trail examples: Go to http://www.funoutdoors.info/search.aspx, click on:
- Project Location: Check all
- Project Activity: Paddling and Motorboating
- Category: Check all
- RTP Funding Level: Check all
Q. It would be beneficial to put all the information surrounding these different programs into some type of community of practice/web portal. Any suggestions?
A. Every state administers its own RTP program.
Similarly, each state administers its own Transportation Enhancement Program.