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Arkansas Trails for Life Grant Program

The Arkansas Trails for Life Grant Program uses funds made available to the Arkansas Department of Health through the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act.

Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
Outdoor Recreation Grants Program:

photo of paved trail

The Trails for Life program is funding trails across Arkansas



The purpose of the Trails for Life Grant Program is to provide an incentive to Arkansans to develop facilities in local neighborhoods and parks and by encouraging active healthy life styles including vigorous exercise as a part of a regular routine.

Act 1750 of 2001 established The Arkansas Trails for Life Grant Program which uses funds madeavailable to the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services through the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act.

Eligible Projects

The objective of the Trails for Life grant program is to provide grants to construct trails or other facilities that encourage physical exercise for health reasons. Applications may be submitted for :

(1) Standard Health and Fitness Trail Applicants may submit an application for $35,000 to develop a standard looped fitness trail consisting of a hard surface trail, a minimum of 6 ft. wide (8 ft width is preferable) and approximately ¼ mile in length, constructed of concrete, asphalt or other material suitable to comply with the Architectural Barriers Act.

(2) Custom Health and Fitness Project may submit a detailed grant proposal (maximum $70,000) for projects that target public health and fitness improvements in their communities. Projects might include linear trails with the primary purpose of providing a health and fitness experience, interconnection of existing trails for fitness use, provide or enhance walking or bicycle access, signage, curb cuts and other structures giving children and others access between home and school or to other recreation facilities. Buildings including restrooms, are not eligible for funding. Proposals can include multiple site locations within city or community jurisdictions.

Grant Funds May Not Be Used For:

Land purchases; overlay or resurfacing of existing trails; programmatic uses; brochures; payment of public utilities; purchase of tools; purchase of personal or athletic equipment; projects providing private or selected patronage.

How Much Funding will be Available Annually?

Total annual grant funds will be subject to funds allocated to the Arkansas Trails for Life Grant Program by the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services through the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement. Total annually allocated grant funds will not exceed $250,000.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Incorporated city governments and county governments (unincorporated communities must apply through the county). Joint applications may be submitted between city or county governments and schools, non profit corporations, or private industry. Joint sponsors must sign a binding contract agreement making each party responsible for the operation and maintenance of the project and its’ elements. County projects will be limited to a single jurisdiction.

There a Matching Requirement?

There is no monetary match for this grant program. The applicant must provide land suitable for the project. Those applications that demonstrate a higher level of community involvement and commitment to the proposed project will receive priority in the selection process. This will be determined by supporting information provided in the application including site preparations, cash, signage, benches, landscaping, donated labor and/or materials, additional parking, etc. Those applicants that submit applications detailing existing or planned programs designed to enhance use of the facilities will be given priority.

What is the Criteria used for Selecting who Gets Funded?

Applications will be reviewed by Outdoor Recreation Grant Program staff when submitted. Only approved applications will be submitted to the Selection Committee for funding consideration. The Committee will review each project application based on its individual merits. Projects that provide additional cash, site preparations, volunteer labor, material donations, facility enhancements, programs that encourage use, promotional literature, and signage will be considered for funding priority. Projects in underserved and rural areas will be considered for funding priority.


The Trails for Life Program is not intended to duplicate the opportunities of other grant programs.Grants for recreational trails are available through the Arkansas Recreational Trails Grant Program administered by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, the 50/50 Matching Grant Program administered by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and the Rural Community Development Grant Program administered by the Arkansas Department of Rural Services. Trails for Life grants are limited to trails specifically designed for providing health and fitness benefits.

Healthy Arkansas Initiative

The program is part of the Healthy Arkansas Initiative. This initiative of Governor Huckabee aims to improve the health of all residents while reducing the state's burdensome $3 billion dollar annual Medicaid cost. This comprehensive project includes a robust website with online services to clearly define specific opportunities for citizens to improve their health. Arkansas bears a burden greater than the national average of chronic disease, including diabetes, stroke, lung and heart disease, and cancer. The Healthy Arkansas website is a valuable resource for finding smoke-free restaurants or walking trails, order free health books or find a "health buddy" online, plus many other services.

For more information:

Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
Outdoor Recreation Grants
One Capitol Mall
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Phone (501) 682-1301 - FAX (501) 682-0081

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