For Immediate Release - December 20, 2013

Patrick Administration Celebrates Recreational Trails Grant for Westfield’s Stanley Park

Funds will rehabilitate wildlife sanctuary trails after 2011 storm damage

WESTFIELD – Thursday, December 19, 2013 – Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan today joined state and local officials to celebrate a $10,400 Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant awarded to Westfield’s Stanley Park for repairs to its public trails.

“Stanley Park and the wildlife sanctuary provide an opportunity for residents and visitors in Westfield to recreate and enjoy all that nature and open space have to offer,” said Secretary Sullivan. “Getting these trails reopened will allow families access to this wonderful asset once again.”

The Stanley Park trail project is one of 32 RTP grants awarded in November by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The funds awarded to Stanley Park will be matched with $2,600, a requirement of the program.

“The development of recreational trails is central to our core mission,” said DCR Commissioner Jack Murray. “These projects will connect cities and towns across the Commonwealth and will help ensure that Massachusetts continues to be a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts."

Recreational Trails Grants are awarded for the construction and stewardship of hiking trails, bikeways, snowmobile trails, and an array of other trails throughout the Commonwealth. This can include improvements to long-distance trails and rail trail development, ATV trail maintenance, and creation or maintenance of municipal trails. Each recipient matches their grant with a minimum additional 20 percent in funding or in-kind services.

Grant awards range from $6,000 to $116,000, depending on the scope of the project. Since 1993, DCR has awarded more than $10 million in Recreational Trails Program funds to nearly 500 grant projects in communities across the Commonwealth. This achievement was accomplished thanks to partnerships with the Federal Highway Administration, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board. This money has been matched by over $5 million in local contributions of cash, in-kind labor and donations.

Recreational Trails Program funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from non-highway recreational fuel use. The funds are distributed to individual states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail uses. RTP grants are 80-20 challenge grants.

The Patrick Administration’s commitment to preserving or creating open space in urban communities has led to the building or renovation of 170 parks. These parks and open spaces are within a ten minute walk of 1.5 million residents – about a quarter of the Commonwealth’s residents.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways.

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