DEP NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR RECREATIONAL TRAIL GRANTS
$1.5 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR IMPROVEMENT OF TRAILS THROUGHOUT THE STATE
(15/P20) TRENTON – Local, state and federal agencies, as well as nonprofit groups, may now apply for nearly $1.5 million in federal recreational trail grants made available by the Federal Highway Administration, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
Since the establishment of the National Recreational Trails Fund Act in 1993, the New Jersey Trails Program has administered federal Recreational Trails Program grants to develop, maintain and restore trails and trail-related facilities. This year’s grants will be awarded from the balance of funds made available in fiscal years 2014 and 2015.
“This available funding is important for the development, improvement and maintenance of the trails in our state and we invite applications from our nonprofit and government partners in recreation,” said Commissioner Martin. “Trails provide recreational and health benefits to people and improve the quality of life in our communities. New Jersey residents of all ages will be able to enjoy the trails that are created and improved with this funding.”
The DEP will accept applications for this round of competitive federal grants until April 30, 2015, for projects that will develop, maintain, improve trails and operate trails throughout New Jersey. Federal, state, county and local governments and nonprofit groups are eligible to apply.
The Federal Highway Administration provides financial assistance to states for developing and maintaining trails and trail facilities. The funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from non-highway recreational fuel use.
Since the program’s inception, New Jersey has awarded more than $18 million to federal, state, county and local governments, and nonprofit agencies. Of the funding available each year, 30 percent is allocated for non-motorized trail projects, 30 percent for motorized trail projects, and 40 percent for diversified use trail projects. Recipients are required to provide a 20 percent matching share for each project.
The federal funds, administered by the DEP’s Green Acres Program, can be used to improve access to open space, enhance environmental resources, create urban and suburban corridors and provide additional hiking, biking, horseback riding, and off-highway vehicle opportunities.
The grant proposals will be evaluated and ranked by the New Jersey Trails Council and approved by the Federal Highway Administration. The Trails Council is comprised of representatives from hiking, mountain biking, motorized trail use, canoeing/kayaking and horseback riding interest groups, as well as several general trail advocates and state government representatives.
Those interested in additional grant information, an application form, or who want to read New Jersey’s 2009 Trails Plans Update that offers a vision, goals and strategic actions to guide the State’s trails efforts, should visit www.trails.nj.gov