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Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Horse and Rider Image

The Trails Grant Programs now require a non-refundable Application fee. Please see Attachment #4 of the Trails manual for further instructions.

NOTE:  Please be advised that at this time, applications ARE being accepted for the Federal Recreational Trails (RTP) grant program ONLY. Recreational Trails (RTP) applications are being accepted until 5pm on March 1, 2016. The Department cannot award grants resulting from these applications until a State budget is approved; submittal of an application will allow the review process to proceed up to the point of award and avoid delays when a budget is in place. Bicycle Path, Off Highway Vehicle, SNOW and STEF grant programs remain suspended until further notice.

NOTE: The Illinois Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Grant manual has been extensively revised and updated; applicants should place particilar attention to changes in land acquisition procedures and processes to avoid ineligibility of proposed projects.

The federal "Recreational Trails Program" (RTP), was created through the National Recreational Trail Fund Act (NRTFA) as part of the Intermodal Surface Transporation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and re-authorized by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). This program provides funding assistance for acquisition, development, rehabilitation and maintenance of both motorized and non-motorized recreation trails. By law, 30% of each states' RTP funding must be earmarked for motorized trail projects, 30% for non-motorized trail projects and the remaining 40% for multi-use (diversified) motorized and non-motorized trails or a combination of either.

The RTP program can provide up to 80% federal funding on approved projects and requires a minimum 20% non-federal funding match. Applications for grant assistance must be received by IDNR no later than March 1 of each calendar year. Awards are generally announced within 180 days following the application deadline date.

Examples of eligible project activities include:

  • trail construction and rehabilitation;
  • restoration of areas adjacent to trails damaged by unauthorized trail uses;
  • construction of trail-related support facilities and amenities; and
  • acquisition from willing sellers of trail corridors through easements or fee simple title.
Grant assistance from this program cannot be used for the following purposes:
  • condemnation of any kind of interest in property;
  • construction of any motorized use trail on U.S. Forest Service lands designated as wilderness or currently not authorized for such use by an approved management plan; or
  • upgrading, expanding or otherwise facilitating motorized use or access to trails predominantly used by non-motorized trail users, and on which, as of May 1, 1991, motorized use is either prohibited or has not occurred.

The 2016 Recreational Trails Program Grant application can be completed and submitted ONLINE. Go to the ONLINE forms by clicking here.

Download the revised and updated Illinois Recreational Trails Program Grant manual. Link to IL Recreational Trails Grant Manual You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view this file.

Starting with the 2002 Trails manual, applications can be filled in ONLINE using Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher. Instructions are available by clicking here.

An Acrobat Reader is needed to view and print PDF documents.  To download the currrent Acrobat Reader, go to the Adobe Site at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.

Accessibility tools for Adobe PDF documents are available that allow visually disabled users to read documents in Adobe PDF format. These tools convert PDF documents into either HTML or ASCII text which can then be read by many screen reading programs. These tools can be downloaded from Adobe at

Return to the Illinois Trails Grant Programs Page
Return to the Grants-in-Aid Programs Page


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