The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses. The RTP is an assistance program of the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Federal transportation funds benefit recreation including hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving, or using other off-road motorized vehicles.
The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act reauthorized the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) for Federal fiscal years 2016 through 2020 as a set-aside of funds from the Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside under Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG). The amount set aside is equal to the State's FY 2009 RTP apportionment.* See Funding Levels by State.
Each State administers its own program. Contact your State RTP Administrator for guidance on State policies and project eligibility requirements.
The Recreational Trails Program Project Database lists most RTP projects funded from 1993 through 2021. The 2021 Recreational Trails Program Annual Report describes how the States used RTP funds. The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) recognizes outstanding RTP projects through its Annual Achievement Awards.
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) Section 1524 requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to encourage States and regional transportation planning agencies to use qualified youth service and conservation corps to perform appropriate transportation-related projects. This section of law remains in effect. See:
* Note: From FY 1993 through FY 2012, the RTP funds were distributed to the States by legislative formula: half of the funds were distributed equally among all States, and half were distributed in proportion to the estimated amount of nonhighway recreational fuel use in each State. The RTP funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from nonhighway recreational fuel use: fuel used for off-highway recreation by snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, and off-highway light trucks.