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Funding ideas from America's trails

Get creative! That's the advice that successful trails activists invariably give. Finding funds for trails and conservation projects is the ultimate creative challenge. Here are some successful examples of trail and greenway funding from across the nation.

$$$$$ The Carolina Heartlands Rail-Trail has received help from the North Carolina Corrections Department. Between 20 and 90 inmates a day have worked on clearing trees, brush, and trash from the right-of-way. The young crews, mostly first-time offenders in a bootcamp-style program, have tackled the 12.5 miles between Wadesboro and McFarlan.

$$$$$ Over $17,000 were raised for Portland Trails by the group's First Annual Giveaway/Getaway. The Portland (Maine) Marriott ballroom was the setting for food and prizes. Over 300 supporters joined elected officials and the media.

$$$$$ North Carolina Rail Trails and the Sand Hills Area Land Trust are working to acquire six miles of the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad in Harnett County. The railroad has agreed to work with the land trust for a conservation tax credit in return for donating the railroad property. Contact: Al Capehart (919) 542-0022.

$$$$$ The 13th annual KFRX Easy Pickin's Bicycle Tour in Lincoln, NE, raises funds for area trails projects. This year's Corporate Challenge honors the greatest participation by companies, organizations, and clubs. Several hundred riders pay $12 for the event. Contact: (800) 728-0856 or

$$$$$ The Stroudwater Trail in Portland, ME, benefitted from a conservation service day that placed 20 tons of crushed rock. Most of the 200-person volunteer force was made up of L. L. Bean employees.

$$$$$ Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland unveiled a new Greenways License Plate that will fund the state's Greenways Assistance Center Grant Program. The grant program will support greenways development, planning, and design for municipalities and non-profit land use organizations.For $50 an "off-the-shelf" Greenways License Plate with random numbers and letters can be purchased, from this $35 goes into the Greenways Grant fund. For $70, an existing vanity plate, low number or current plate can be transferred; from this, $50 goes into the Greenways Grant Fund. Contact:

$$$$$ The Michigan Mountain Biking Association reports that auto maker Subaru became the official sponsor of the group for 1999, providing cash and the use of a vehicle to support trail maintenance and improvements.

$$$$$ Evansville, IN, is building a canoe launch facility as part of the city's major greenway project along Pigeon Creek. The state of Indiana put up 75% of the cost from the federal tax on motorboat fuel. State and federal officials have dedicated revenues from that tax for buying and developing public boating and fishing sites. The Pigeon Creek greenway will provide a wider range of recreation by including water trails along with paved trails.

$$$$$ The Great Plains Trails Network led the fund raising effort to buy and develop the MoPac East Trail, a 25-mile trail that extends from Lincoln east to Elmwood, NE. GPTN volunteers raised $500,000 from 4,000 individuals and corporate donors. The project builds on public support from a previous bond issue that passed with a 76% approval rate.

$$$$$ Acadia National Park will be the first to have an endowed trail system in 127 years of national parks. The Friends of Acadia are raising funds for a $13 million restoration of the National Park's 130 miles of trails. The park committed $4 million in entry fees as a challenge grant in an effort to leverage its fee-demonstration funds. Major donors insisted on a federal match for the private funds.

$$$$$ The Bikes Belong Coalition recently approved five grants to bicycling organizations to advance the creation of urban bike paths. The grants, ranging from $4,500 to $10,000, will help the groups obtain TEA-21 planning and construction grants of millions of dollars. The current round of grants go to:


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