District Department of Transportation

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

Recreational Trails Program Overview

Trails Program - Metropolitan Branch Trail

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) provides funds to the District to develop and maintain trails and trail-related facilities.

What is the Recreational Trails Program?

The RTP provides funds to the District to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. Examples of trail uses include hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving, or other off-road motorized vehicles.

Who administers the program?

The RTP is an assistance program of the US Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The DC Department of Parks and Recreation and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) administer the District’s program. The District has a Recreational Trail Advisory Committee to assist with the program. The committee selects the projects and sends recommendations to DDOT to include in its annual budget. Then DDOT manages the project with the sponsor.

How much money is available?

FY 2005
FY 2006
FY 2007
FY 2008
FY 2009
FY 2010
$580,000 $678,039 $727,059 $776,078 $825,098 $825,098


What projects are eligible?

Recreational Trails Program funds may be used for the following::

  • Maintenance and restoration of existing trails.
  • Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages.
  • Purchase and lease of trail construction and maintenance equipment.
  • Construction of new trails (with restrictions for new trails on federal lands).
  • Acquisition of easements or property for trails.
  • Assessment of trail conditions for accessibility and maintenance.
  • Development and dissemination of publications and operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection related to trails (including supporting non-law enforcement trail safety and trail use monitoring patrol programs, and providing trail-related training) (limited to 5 percent of a state's funds).

States are encouraged to enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with qualified youth conservation or service corps.

Which projects are not eligible?

Recreational Trails Program funds may not be used for:

  • Property condemnation (eminent domain)
  • Constructing new trails for motorized use on National Forest or Bureau of Land Management lands unless the project is consistent with resource management plans
  • Facilitating motorized access on otherwise nonmotorized trails

These funds are intended for recreational trails. RTP funds may not be used to improve roads for general passenger vehicle use. RTP funds should not be used to provide shoulders or sidewalks along roads unless the shoulders or sidewalks are necessary to complete a trail link.

Who can sponsor a project?

The District may make grants to private organizations, to District agencies or to federal government agencies. Projects may be on public or private land, but projects on private land must provide written assurances of public access.

States are encouraged to use qualified youth conservation or service corps for construction and maintenance of recreational trails under this program.

How does project funding work?

In general, the maximum federal share for each project from RTP funds is 80 percent.

The non-federal match must come from project sponsors or other fund sources. DDOT often funds this match. Some in-kind materials and services may be credited toward the project match.

Usually, project payment takes place on a reimbursement basis: the project sponsor must incur costs for work actually completed, and then submit vouchers to the State for payment. Reimbursement is not normally permitted for work that takes place prior to project approval.

How do I obtain Recreational Trails Program project funding?

If you have a trail project proposal, contact DDOT’s Bicycle Program at (202) 671-2638.