Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Grant Program

What is the Recreational Trails grant program?
The Recreational Trails Program is a matching assistance program that provides funding for the acquisition and/or development of multi-use recreational trail projects. Both motorized and non-motorized projects may qualify for assistance. The assistance program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Where are funds from?
The RTP funding represents a portion of the revenue received by the Federal Highway Trust Fund from the federal motor fuel excise tax paid by users of off-road recreational vehicles such as snowmobiles, off-road motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and off-road light trucks. These monies are made available from Indiana's share of funds from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) as a set-aside of the new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) (23 U.S.C. 213).

How is funding received?
The project sponsor will not receive a cash grant at the time of project approval. Instead, the sponsor must pay the bills and then be reimbursed for a maximum of 80% of the expenses incurred for the project according to the terms of the project agreement. Reimbursement is not permitted for work that takes place prior to project approval.

What are local sources of funding?
At the time of application the project sponsor must have at least 20% of the total project cost available. The local share may include tax sources, bond issues, Community Development Funds, Farmers Home Administration Loans, or force account contributions. The donated value of land, cash, labor, equipment and materials may also be used.

Grant funding amounts.
The Indiana RTP will provide 80% matching reimbursement assistance for eligible projects. Applicants may request grant amounts ranging from a minimum of $10,000 up to a maximum of $200,000. Applications are available online or from the Division of Outdoor Recreation. If any changes are made to the manual/application they will be posted by Feb. 1. Applications are due back in our office by May 1.

Who is eligible?
All units of government and agencies incorporated as not-for-profit corporations are eligible to participate.

Who administers the program?
The Governor of Indiana has designated the Indiana Department of Natural Resources through its Division of Outdoor Recreation to administer the program.

What types of projects may be funded?
Projects will be eligible if they provide public access to trails. Funds from RTP can be used for:

  • Development and rehabilitation of trailside, trailhead facilities, and trail linkages
  • Construction of multi-use trails
  • Acquisition of easement or property for trails
  • Operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection related to trails (limited to 5% of State's funds)
  • Providing stream and river access sites
  • Construction of bridges, boardwalks and crossings
  • Signage
  • Building of sanitary facilities and other support facilities (e.g., water fountains, etc.)

All facilities should be universally designed to accommodate all people. Facilities, programs and activities funded through this program must be open to the public without discrimination on the basis of race, color, national, origin, age or disability.

How do I apply?
The RTP manual online serves as the guidelines and application. Please use this document to complete your application. The appendix has all the forms needed to apply.

If you want to know more about the RTP grant or want to discuss potential projects, contact:

Bob Bronson
State & Community Outdoor Recreation Planning Section
Division of Outdoor Recreation
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
402 W. Washington Street, Room 271
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 232-4075
Fax: (317) 233-4648

Guidelines/applications are available here online for your convenience. If you have any difficulty with this file, contact us and CD or printed versions can be sent to you.

The Division of Outdoor Recreation has guidelines for preparing 5-year park and recreation master plans  along with other information and publications of interest to local park agencies.