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The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is accepting applications for the Recreational Trails Program - Statewide Trails Education Grants with a deadline of February 1, 2013.  

Statewide Trails Education Grant Guidelines

Through the federally-funded Recreational Trails Program, a state may elect to set aside 5% of its apportionment to be allocated to educational projects which benefit all trail user groups.  This year, the Massachusetts Recreational Trail Advisory Board (MARTAB) has elected to set aside the funds and open up a second grant round for applications to fund projects which fall within the federal and state requirements for use of education funds.

Applicants are encouraged to apply for Trail Education grants with a maximum federal reimbursement total of $8,000 - $10,000 and will have approximately 18 months to complete their project after the award contract is signed.  The project must provide trail user education to both non-motorized and motorized trail users, satisfying the diverse use requirements of the Recreational Trails Program.  This year, MARTAB is calling for projects which focus on trail education programs or training which addresses trail safety and/or environmental protection.  They must also be beneficial to and welcome the statewide trails community, rather than be specific to a particular property or region.  Examples include:

  • Training Workshops on sustainable trail design, construction, maintenance, operation and assessment with a particular focus on promoting safety or environmental protection related to recreational trails.
  • Statewide Programs that develop or support trail planning, design, construction, maintenance, operation, and assessment with a particular focus on safety and environmental protection related to recreational trails.

Typical education projects may include:

  • Develop and operate statewide trail-related environmental education programs.
  • Develop and operate statewide trail safety education programs.
  • Develop and provide training on trail accessibility and sustainability
  • Develop and deliver training that promotes safety or environmental protection related to recreational trails. This includes training related to trail planning design, construction, maintenance, operation, and assessment, because each of these steps can relate directly to safety and environmental protection. Note: this does not include training related to club or organizational development or grant-writing skills.
  • Youth Corps – projects that accomplish any of the above by creation or use of an existing youth corps program, whether local or national in nature are highly encouraged!  Please note that if the project proposes to utilize youth corps to accomplish a region/community-specific trails project, then the application would be more appropriately submitted to the general Recreational Trails Program grants as a “trail project”, not as an educational program.  

Examples of Education Projects:

  • MARTAB’s Trails Workshop Series Agenda:  Fall 2009
  • Department of Conservation and Recreation Trails School Agenda

Project Selection Criteria

To evaluate and select proposals, DCR and the Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board will use the following criteria to assess whether the proposal:

Provides a positive impact to the statewide trail system in Massachusetts
Promotes safety and/or environmental protection related to recreational trails.
Clearly demonstrates the need for education relating to recreational trails
Includes supporting documentation/research which demonstrates the potential effectiveness of the initiative in meeting the need with an outcome that will be beneficial to the trails community.  
Describes a realistic, tangible project that can be accomplished in the time given, and has a realistic and appropriate budget.
Provides education which reaches out to the statewide trail community and all trail user groups.
Thoroughly considers relevant environmental, social and cultural issues and assists in minimizing or mitigating impacts to natural and cultural resources.  
Creates partnerships among trail users, organizations, or agencies


1. Submission and Timeline: FOUR (4) unbound copies of your application (see list of application materials at the bottom of this page), including all supporting materials, must be postmarked by February 1, 2013.  Only one copy of all SIX financial documents is necessary, but it must be the ORIGINAL, SIGNED copy of each.  If the full grant is also available in electronic form (including maps and pictures), then four hardcopies can be sent in with one electronic copy.  Grant awards will typically be announced after a period of nine months from the grant deadline date. All applicants will be notified, whether or not they will receive funding, at the same time.  All grant funds must be expended and grant-funded work completed within 24 months after the contract start date (which will be signed after the grant award is announced).  No grant work may begin until the grant contract and agreement has been finalized.

2. Eligibility: All state, regional, municipal, and some federal government agencies, as well as IRS-approved non-profit organizations are eligible for grants under the program. State and federal agencies should call for additional details on eligibility.

3. Permitting: It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that any necessary permits (e.g. Natural Heritage, Mass Historic, Wetlands Protection Act) are in place prior to starting the grant program. Failure to obtain necessary permits may prevent grant payment.   

4. Match: The project application must include estimates for the matching portion of the project cost. The match must cover a minimum (greater amounts are encouraged) of 20% of the total value of a project. For example, an $8,000 grant would require at least $2,000 in matching contributions, for a total project value of $10,000. If your project is selected for a grant, the match will need to be documented with invoices, time sheets, or other acceptable records. The actual, documented value of the match must equal at least 20% of the total project value before the final grant payment can be made and the grant closed out.   If submitting multiple reimbursement requests throughout the grant contract period, each individual request must include a match of 20% of that reimbursement request.


Guidelines for “in-kind” match contributions:


  • Money from other grants and donations
  • Municipal, agency, or organizational funds
  • Donations of money, labor or materials

Not allowed:

  • Match contribution that does not directly relate to the proposed project
  • Contributions that occurred prior to notification of the grant award
  • Matching contributions applied to any other grant