The Trails Capacity Program is now open for applications! Apply Now
The Trail Fund is a joint initiative of the Trails Move People Coalition, led by American Trails.
7,044 views • posted 09/13/2023 • updated 11/06/2023
The Trail Fund has now morphed into two programs. The Trails Capacity Program fills the role of what the "Trail Fund" was in 2021, and the Legacy Trail Program now offers Legacy Roads and Trails funding to projects on U.S. Forest Service lands.
The Trails Capacity Program invests in building nationwide trails community capacity. This grant program targets available funding toward supporting small local trail projects that engage the community and connect trail assets to a broader spectrum of users. We find the best trail partners and we measure our success in terms of visible, on-the-ground maintenance of trails and increased capacity of organizations and trail stewards to do the job effectively.
What the program does:
Supports partners from all nonmotorized and motorized trail user groups, including water trails. Projects may include trail research, stewardship, and maintenance projects that are inclusive, engaging, educational, and foster improved trail user behavior. This program is targeted for non-Forest Service federal lands, as well as State, local, and private lands. Projects on Forest Service lands should be directed to the Legacy Trails Program.
Land managers, stewardship organizations, and other members of the trail research, education, and stewardship community.
Typical project size: Projects range in size. We fund between 5k and 10k.
No match required: No in-kind or cash match required, but some match preferred.
Funding cycle: Opens fall 2023 for 2024 field season. Funding must be spent by the end of the award year.
Creating more resilient and sustainable National Forest System trails, and restoring, protecting, and maintaining crucial watersheds on our national forests and grasslands
What the program does:
Enables project partners from nonmotorized and motorized user groups to complete trails projects on lands managed by the USDA Forest Service, which improve watershed health, restore aquatic organism passages, preserve access, and decommission unauthorized and previously closed trails.
Nonprofit organizations and non-Federal agencies
Typical project size: Small projects may apply for between $5-20K. Large projects may apply for up to $100K
20% Match: No cash match required. In-kind match is acceptable.
Funding cycle: Opens fall 2023 for 2024 field season. Funding must be spent in 2 yrs.
Which program should I apply for?
The Trails Capacity Program funds trails research, stewardship training, and trail maintenance on private or public land, whereas the Legacy Trails Program is only for projects on national forests and grasslands managed by the USDA Forest Service. Please get in touch if you need help figuring out which funding program might be right for your project.
Are these funds for all trails types?
Yes! We fund projects for all trails users, and for motorized and nonmotorized trails.
What do I need to do before applying?
It’s a good idea to have a clearly defined project and strong community support for your project well ahead of the application deadline. You will need letters of support, a detailed project budget, and a project timeline. If you are thinking of applying to the Legacy Trails Program, get in touch with your local Forest Service District Ranger well in advance. You will need to get a letter of support and/or formal written agreement with them before applying for funds.
If we are awarded a grant, what will be expected of us?
Awardees become partners in helping promote American Trails and The Trail Fund. You will be asked to send out a press release and other publicity around your project to local and social media and to share images with American Trails of your project before, during, and after completion. We also ask for a final project report.
For Legacy Trails Program awardees, you will be asked to work with your local Forest Service District Ranger for any publicity and send American Trails a final project report.
How do I find out more information?
Other questions? Send an email to [email protected].