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Trail Grants

DCNR's goal is to have a trail within 15 minutes of every Pennsylvania citizen. DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation provides grants to support the enhancement and expansion of non-motorized and motorized trails to meet this goal.

Trail grants are awarded through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program.

Eligible trail grant projects assist with planning, acquisition of land, construction, and rehabilitation and maintenance of trails and trail-related facilities, including:

  • Trailheads
  • Access roads
  • Parking areas
  • Interpretive signage
  • Comfort stations

Eligible projects also include the purchase or lease of trail maintenance and construction equipment and the development and operation of educational programs.

Trail Project Funding Criteria

For the purposes of this grant program, trails are defined as a designated land or water corridor with public access that provides recreation and/or alternative transportation opportunities to motorized and/or non-motorized users of all ages and abilities.

To be considered a trail project, at least 75 percent of the total project cost must be related to trail activities and/or trailside facilities.

Generally speaking, a recreational pathway that falls completely within a local park will be considered a Park Rehabilitation and Development project rather than a Trail project.

Motorized Trail Projects

Motorized trail projects include projects related to trails or trail facilities intended for uses such as:

  • Snowmobiling
  • Four-wheel driving
  • All-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding
  • Off-highway motorcycle riding

Non-Motorized Trail Projects

Non-motorized trail projects include projects related to trails or trail facilities intended for uses such as:

  • Hiking
  • Bicycling
  • Mountain biking
  • Kayaking
  • Horseback riding

Trail Project Funding Eligibility

Applicants must work with the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation’s regional advisors (PDF) to determine eligibility of their organization, eligibility of their project, and the most suitable funding source.

Examples of trail projects eligible for funding include:

  • Trail Land Acquisition -- Projects involve the purchase of fee simple title or perpetual easement to real property for subsequent development of motorized and non-motorized trails and trail-related facilities.
  • Trail Planning -- Projects examine the feasibility of developing land and water trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and non-motorized recreational activities as well as provide an action plan to make the trail a reality.
  • Trail Development, Rehabilitation, and Maintenance -- Projects involve new construction, rehabilitation, and/or maintenance of existing land and water trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and non-motorized recreational activities.
  • Trail Equipment Purchase -- Projects involve the purchase or lease of equipment to be used exclusively for the maintenance or construction of land and water trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and non-motorized recreational activities.
  • Trail Educational Programs -- Projects involve the development and operation of educational programs that promote safety and environmental protection as those objectives relate to the use of motorized and non-motorized recreational trails.

Trail Funding Sources, Eligibility, and Match

The following are available funding sources for trail projects. The scope of a trail project will determine the eligibility of trail funds and requirements.

Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund

  • Eligible Applicants: Municipalities and municipal entities.
  • Eligible Projects: Construction and rehabilitation, planning, and acquisition of non-motorized and motorized trails and trail-related facilities.
  • Required Match: Minimum 50 percent of project cost. Match can include a combination of cash and/or non-cash values.

Environmental Stewardship Fund

  • Eligible Applicants: Municipalities and nonprofit organizations.
  • Eligible Projects: Construction and rehabilitation, planning, and acquisition of non-motorized and motorized trails and trail-related facilities.
  • Required Match: Minimum 50 percent of project cost. Match can include a combination of cash and/or non-cash values.

Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Program

  • Eligible Applicants: Federal and state agencies, municipalities, and nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
  • Eligible Projects: Construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized recreational trails; the purchase or lease of equipment for trail maintenance and construction; and the development of educational materials and programs.
  • Required Match: These grants require a minimum match equal to 20 percent of the project cost. Match can include a combination of cash and/or non-cash values.

Snowmobile Management Restricted Account

  • Eligible Applicants: Federal and state agencies, municipalities, and nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
  • Eligible Projects: Construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance, planning, and acquisition of trails, areas, and facilities for snowmobile use; the purchase or lease of equipment for trail maintenance and construction; and the development of educational materials and programs.
  • Required Match: These grants require a minimum match equal to 20 percent of the project cost. Match can include a combination of cash and/or non-cash values. Land acquisition projects require a minimum match equal to 50 percent of the project cost. Match can include a combination of cash and/or a land donation non-cash value.

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Management Restricted Account

  • Eligible Applicants: Federal and state agencies, municipalities, and nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
  • Eligible Projects: Construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance, planning, and acquisition of trails, areas, and facilities for all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use; the purchase or lease of equipment for trail maintenance and construction; and the development of educational materials and programs.
  • Required Match: These grants require a minimum match equal to 20 percent of the project cost. Match can include a combination of cash and/or non-cash values. Land acquisition projects require a minimum match equal to 50 percent of the project cost. Match can include a combination of cash and/or a land donation non-cash value.

Other Grant Opportunities for Trails

In addition to funding opportunities through DCNR, trail funding opportunities are available through other state agencies including: