Recreational Trails Program (RTP)
This is a federal program administered in most states. Municipal governments and incorporated organizations are eligible to receive reimbursement for the development, rehabilitation, and maintenance of recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail uses.
Eligible sponsors may be reimbursed for up to 80% of eligible project costs. Funds from this program may be used in conjunction with funds from other state grant programs that also fund trail projects.
The RTP legislation prohibits using RTP funds for condemnation of any kind of interest in property. An RTP project may be located on land condemned with funds from other sources. However, to be consistent with the RTP legislation, it is not permissible to use the value of condemned land toward the match requirement for an RTP project.
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Who can apply
Towns, villages, cities, counties, tribal governing bodies, school districts, state agencies, federal agencies or incorporated organizations are eligible to apply for funds. Incorporated organizations are those that are incorporated under s. 181, Wis. Stats., whose primary purpose is promoting, encouraging or engaging in outdoor recreation trails activities.
Form 8700-389 Nonprofit Conservation Organization Recreation Trails Program Eligibility Application
Eligible projects in order of priority are:
- Maintenance and restoration of existing trails;
- Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages;
- Construction of new trails (with certain restrictions on federal lands*); and
- Acquisition of easements and fee simple title to property for recreational trails or recreational trail corridors (must comply with the provisions of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended).
*Construction of new trails crossing federal lands only where permissible under other law, necessary and required by a statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plan, approved by the DNR and the administering federal agency and consistent with applicable federal land management plans and policies.
Trail Use funding category definitions
- Nonmotorized project for single use: A project primarily intended to benefit only one mode of nonmotorized recreational trail use, such as pedestrian-only, or equestrian-only. Projects serving various pedestrian uses (such as walking, hiking, wheelchair use, running, bird-watching, nature interpretation, backpacking, etc.) constitute a single use for the purposes of this category. Note: wheelchair use by mobility-impaired people, whether operated manually or powered, constitutes pedestrian use, not motorized trail use. Projects serving various nonmotorized human-powered snow uses (such as skiing, snowshoeing, etc.) constitute a single use for this category.
- Nonmotorized diverse use project: A project primarily intended to benefit more than one mode of nonmotorized recreational trail use such as: walking, bicycling and skating; both pedestrian and equestrian use; or pedestrian use in summer and cross-country ski use in winter.
- Motorized single-use project: A project primarily intended to benefit only one mode of motorized recreational use, such as snowmobile trail grooming. A project may be classified in this category if the project also benefits some nonmotorized uses (it is not necessary to exclude nonmotorized uses), but the primary intent must be for the benefit of motorized use.
- Motorized diverse use project: A project primarily intended to benefit more than one mode of motorized recreational use, such as motorcycle and ATV use; or ATV use in summer and snowmobile use in winter. A project may be classified in this category if the project also benefits some nonmotorized uses (it is not necessary to exclude nonmotorized uses), but the primary intent must be for the benefit of motorized use.
- Non-motorized diverse use (see above under “Non-motorized”)
- Motorized diverse use (see above under “Motorized”)
- Diverse use project including both motorized and nonmotorized uses: A project intended to benefit both nonmotorized recreational trail use and motorized recreational trail use. This category includes projects where motorized use is permitted, but is not the predominant beneficiary. This category includes projects where motorized and nonmotorized uses are separated by season, such as equestrian use in summer and snowmobile use in winter. Other examples include a common trailhead project serving separate ATV and bicycle trails.
Applications are typically due on May 1 each year.
Stewardship Local Assistance Programs (STEW), Federal Land and Water Conservation Program (LWCF) and the Federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Grant Program Guidance and Application Materials are all in the same booklet:
- 2023 Grant Guidelines
- Stewardship Local Assistance, Federal Land & Water Conservation Fund and Recreational Trails Program grant application Form 8700-191
- LUG Application Answer Template (Form 8700-338)
- Recreation Grant Project Cost estimate worksheet Form 8700-014
- Environmental Hazards Assessment Form 1800-001 [PDF]
- Grant Project Authorizing Resolution Form 8700-388
- Public Access & Acceptable Uses Form 8700-322
- Grant Payment Request & Worksheet (Form 8700-001)
- Grant Partner Cost Sharing or Matching Report (Form 9300-230) - Complete and submit with each reimbursement request.
- Volunteer Labor Worksheet Used as Grant Match (Form 8700-349B)
- Donated Equipment or Equipment Usage Worksheet (Form 8700-362)
- Donated Professional Services Worksheet (Form 8700-350)
- Wisconsin Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)
- 2022 Non-Standard WisDOT Equipment Rates
- Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017 classified equipment rates
- Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR Part 200)
- RTP Prevailing Wage Rate Requirements (Davis-Bacon Act)
- Prevailing wage handout
- Buy America Guidance
- Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE)
ADA/Accessibility Guidelines and Resources
- Accessibility Guidance for Grant Funded Projects (CF-031)
- US Access Board Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas: https://www.access-board.gov/files/aba/guides/outdoor-guide.pdf
Projects located on US Forest Service (USFS) lands must comply with the following:
- Forest Service Trails Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG): https://www.fs.usda.gov/sites/default/files/FSTAG-2013-Update.pdf
- Accessibility Guidebook for Outdoor Recreation and Trails: https://www.fs.usda.gov/sites/default/files/Accessibility-Guide-Book.pdf
Grant related statutes and administrative codes
- Contact information
- For assistance with RTP grants, contact:
- Bobbi Winebar
Department of Natural Resources
2984 Shawano Ave
Green Bay, WI 54313
- Your regional DNR grant project manager [PDF]