|Part of a trail project along the Milwaukee |
Road corridor in Idaho.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) frequently learns about rail-trail projects with amazing potential that are stalled due to lack of one resource: money. So with limited funding to go around, RTC's Western Regional Office has compiled a few of the most effective strategies individuals and organizations have used to finance their projects. Excepting state-specific grant programs, these ideas could suit trails anywhere in the country. And if you'd like to add another suggestion to our list or share a unique fundraising success story, please contact the Western Regional office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Organize an event
Who doesn't enjoy good music, food and company? The Lassen Land Trails and Trails Trust recently put on Bridgefest, a two-day music festival in Susanville, Calif. The proceeds will be donated to the LLTT's Trail Endowment fund, which is working to raise money to rebuild a bridge along the Bizz Johnson Trail that burned in a 2000 wildfire.
2. Seek corporate partners
Try contacting the businesses in your area to see if they offer any kind of community support programs. Whole Foods Market, for example, hosts four 5-percent Community Support Days annually, at each store, to support the work of community non-profits. RTC's national office partnered with a Whole Foods in Rockville, Md., in January 2008.
3. Be Creative! Utilize any unique resources to which you may have access
RTC has been working with Bob Whittaker, tour manager for the rock group REM, to advance the progress of Washington's Ferry County Rail Trail. As a part of his fundraising effort, Whittaker asked the band for an autographed guitar to auction off for the trail, and the sale on EBay earned about $1,500 for the Ferry County Trail.
4. Apply for a grant
For more traditional options, there are a variety of private and federal grants available for trails. One popular grant RTC often refers people to is offered through the National Park Service (NPS). Their Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) works with community groups and local, state and federal government agencies to conserve rivers, preserve open space and develop trails and greenways. The deadline to submit is August 1, 2008.