Next Level Trails will invest $90 million – the largest infusion of State trail funding in Indiana history – toward the development of regionally and locally significant trails throughout Indiana. As part of Governor Holcomb’s broader Next Level Connections infrastructure program, Next Level Trails (NLT) is designed to incentivize collaborative efforts to accelerate trail connections. The DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation will administer the program in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Overview of Grant Program
|Regionally Significant Projects||Locally Significant Projects|
|Total Allocated||$70 million||$20 million|
|Grant Round 1||$19,844,839 awarded||$5,067,881 awarded|
|Maximum Request||$5 million per applicant||$2 million per applicant|
Eligible Applicants: Local units of government or 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. One application per applicant per round. The applicant must fulfill at least one of the following roles:
- Own (or acquire) the trail corridor
- Manage and maintain the trail once developed
- Oversee and manage trail construction through completion
Eligible Projects: All non-motorized trail types are eligible, but consideration will be given to multi-use trail types. All surface types are eligible and should meet contextual needs. All trails must be open to the public.
Eligible Costs: Trail construction (including upgrading surface type), land acquisition, design and engineering, and basic trail amenities. All eligible costs must occur within contract period.
Match Requirement: All grant requests require a minimum 20% match. Consideration will be given to projects exceeding 20%.
Eligible Match: Monetary contributions, land value, and in-kind donations of materials and labor.
Project Evaluation: Eligible projects will be evaluated by a review committee staffed by multiple State agencies. Applications will be evaluated based on the following:
Preference given to:
- Projects that connect multiple cities, towns or counties.
- Projects that a part of an existing regional or comprehensive plan.
- Projects that further the completion of the State Visionary Trail System (regionally significant projects only).
- Projects that connect schools, parks, neighborhoods, commercial centers or local attractions (locally significant projects only).
- Projects that connect or extend existing trails.
- Projects that maximize partnerships.
- Projects on an accelerated timeline.
Consideration given to:
- Projects offered in collaboration with another Next Level Trails applicant.
- Projects that are a part of a national or multi-state trail system (regionally significant projects only).
- Projects that provide access to a population not currently within a 5-mile radius of a trail.
- Projects in counties considered deficient in trail miles per capita (locally significant projects only).
- Projects that develop the most miles of trail.
- Projects that accommodate multiple types of trail uses.
- Statewide distribution of NLT funds.
- Projects that exceed the minimum 20% match requirement.
Project Timeline: Grant recipients sign a contract with DNR, and projects are expected to be completed within a 4-year contract period. Preference will be given to projects on an accelerated timeline. Grant recipients will be awarded funds upfront based on major project milestones, including design and engineering, land acquisition and construction.
Grant Rounds: NLT funds will be awarded in rounds until all funds have been allocated. Round one is complete and round two has not yet been announced. A total of three rounds are planned.
Interested in applying? Check out our Grant Application Process page.
Have questions? Check our FAQ page.
Media requests about NLT should contact Marty Benson (317) 233-3853.
Receive email notification when this page is updated, including for announcement of future grant rounds.