Grants

Ozaukee Interurban Trail | Photo by TrailLink user lixunz

$1,919,820

awarded since 2008

269

grants awarded since 2008

178

trail organizations supported

Through our grant programs, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) emphasizes strategic investments that support significant regional and community trail development goals. Many of our funded projects are small in scope and scale and can be hard to finance within traditional funding streams. These projects are essential to building, maintaining and managing the trails that so many of us love and that communities rely upon for recreation, transportation and economic vitality. Through these relatively small investments, we are able to help complete and connect trails, improve the trail user experience and support local organizations dedicated to new and existing trails across the country.


RTC’s Trail Grants Program is made possible by the generous support of individuals, families, foundations and corporations. To learn more about becoming a sponsor, please email majorgifts@railstotrails.org.


Katy Trail State Park | Photo by Aaron Fuhrman
Katy Trail State Park | Photo by Aaron Fuhrman

Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund

Launched in 2015, the Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund supports organizations and local governments that are implementing projects to build and improve multiuse trails. The application period is closed. Join the Trail Expert Network to get more updates.

See 2019 Awardees Join Trail Expert Network


Project Spotlight


Queen City Bike and Mobo Bicycle Cooperative earn-a-bike program in Cincinnati - Photo courtesy Queen City Bike and Mobo Bicycle Cooperative
Cincinnati, OH

Mill Creek Greenway Trail

A new 98-foot trail bridge was installed over Brush Run Creek to eliminate a dangerous crossing of Valley Brook Road. - Photo by Montour Trail Council
Peters Township, PA

Montour Trail

Gallatin Valley Land Trust bridge ribbon cutting - Photo courtesy Gallatin Valley Land Trust
Bozeman, MT

Gallagator Trail

Detroit Greenways Coalition discussing the Joe Louis Greenway - Photo courtesy Detroit Greenways Coalition
Highland Park, MI

Joe Louis Greenway

Ozaukee Interurban Trail - Photo by TrailLink user lixunz
Port Washington, WI

Ozaukee Interurban Trail

Pinkerton Trail along the Great Allegheny Passage - Photo by Milo Bateman
Somerset County, PA

Great Allegheny Passage

Amigos de los Rios 2013 Arbor Day Celebration - Photo courtesy Amigos de los Rios
Los Angeles County, CA

Emerald Necklace

Lafitte Greenway - Photo by TrailLink user trailsforall
New Orleans, LA

Lafitte Greenway

Mill Creek Greenway Trail

Earn-a-bike program in Cincinnati, Ohio | Photo courtesy Queen City Bike and Mobo Bicycle Coop
Earn-a-bike program in Cincinnati, Ohio | Photo courtesy Queen City Bike and Mobo Bicycle Coop

Grant Program: The Coca-Cola Foundation Metropolitan Grants Program
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Trail: Mill Creek Greenway Trail
Grantee: Queen City Bike
Award: $7,500
Year: 2014

Activity: Earn-a-bike

In 2014, RTC support enabled Queen City Bike and Mobo Bicycle Cooperative to collaboratively host its first earn-a-bike program in Cincinnati. Under the program, youth from across the city participated in a four-week bicycle mechanics and skills course in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood, where attendees became comfortable working with common bike tools, gained an understanding of the mechanics of a bicycle and learned best riding practices for an urban environment. The class also participated in a service project along the Mill Creek Greenway Trail, where they learned about the local stream ecology, as well as tips on how to identify and remove invasive plant species and the proper use of trail maintenance tools. At the conclusion of the program, participants were awarded a bicycle, helmet, lock and bike lights.

Gallagator Trail

Gallatin Valley Land Trust bridge ribbon cutting | Photo courtesy Gallatin Valley Land Trust
Gallatin Valley Land Trust bridge ribbon cutting | Photo courtesy Gallatin Valley Land Trust

Grant Program: Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Trail: Gallagator Trail
Grantee: Gallatin Valley Land Trust
Award: $15,000
Year: 2016

Activities: Purchase trail counter, improve bridges

RTC support of the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT) in 2016 allowed the organization to accomplish two goals: the purchase and installation of a trail counter, and the improvement of three bridges along the trail to bring them up to safety codes and standards. The counter, which has recorded a trail traffic average of 740 users a day (with summer usage regularly approaching 1,000), has enabled the GVLT and City of Bozeman to justify investments in trail infrastructure when seeking funding from various sources. The remainder of RTC’s funding supported the hiring of a local contractor to replace the decking and handrails on three deteriorating bridges along the trail. Decking was reoriented to run perpendicular to the trail for improved biking safety, and sturdy handrails were installed to allow worry-free stream gazing. The GVLT reports that runners, walkers and bikers all express their unsolicited appreciation for the improvements when they see their staff members near the bridges.

Ozaukee Interurban Trail

Ozaukee Interurban Trail | Photo by TrailLink user lixunz
Ozaukee Interurban Trail | Photo by TrailLink user lixunz

Grant Program: FedEx Mini-Grants
Location: Port Washington (Ozaukee County), Wisconsin
Trail: Ozaukee Interurban Trail
Grantee: Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department
Award: $10,000
Year: 2017

Activities: Engineering and design support for trail extension, removal of trees and invasive species along open trail

In 2017, RTC provided funding to support the Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department’s efforts to extend the Ozaukee Interurban Trail along a former interurban railway right-of-way in Port Washington, Wisconsin. The new extension would relocate an interim route from adjacent urban roadways to a safer and more enjoyable multiuse trail. Specifically, RTC funds allowed the county to perform preliminary community-based engineering and design work, enabling the extension to advance further toward construction. The RTC grant also funded the removal of invasive shrubs and dying ash trees at crossings along the open portion of the trail, improving both the local ecology and safety for trail users. Both the Ozaukee Interurban Trail and its planned extension are critical components of the Route of the Badger, an RTC TrailNation project.

Emerald Necklace

Amigos de los Rios 2013 Arbor Day Celebration | Photo courtesy Amigos de los Rios
Amigos de los Rios 2013 Arbor Day Celebration | Photo courtesy Amigos de los Rios

Grant Program: REI Urban Pathways Stewards
Location: Los Angeles County, California
Trail: Emerald Necklace      
Grantee: Amigos de los Rios
Award: $5,000
Year: 2012-13

Activity: Tree planting

From 2012 to 2013, RTC provided Amigos de los Rios in Los Angeles County with grant funding that supported the continued expansion and greening of the Emerald Necklace River Greenways. The Emerald Necklace is a system of multiuse paths and sustainable parks along the San Gabriel, Rio Hondo and Los Angeles rivers that is growing into a network that will connect 42 cities and more than 2 million Los Angeles County residents to parks, open space and trail experiences. Amigos de los Rios used its funding to coordinate weekend workdays at community planting and playground sites along the Emerald Necklace. In support of these workdays, and to maintain plantings, the organization purchased tools needed for planting, watering, mulching and pruning trees and shrubs. During the workdays, Amigos de los Rios conducted programming to teach residents how to plant and care for trees and about environmental issues such as: air and water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and heat islands, and how protecting parks through the Emerald Necklace helps to mitigate these issues. In addition to the immediate benefits, a major accomplishment of the grant funding was an increase in Amigos de los Rios’ long-term volunteer capacity.

Montour Trail

Trail bridge installed over Brush Run Creek | Photo courtesy Montour Trail Council
Trail bridge installed over Brush Run Creek | Photo courtesy Montour Trail Council

Grant Program: Pennsylvania DCNR Trail Assistance Mini-Grant Program
Location: Peters Township, Pennsylvania
Trail: Montour Trail
Grantee: Montour Trail Council
Award: $3,179.52
Year: 2013

Activities: Signage, approach markings, bollards, fencing for a new trail bridge

In 2013, the Montour Trail Council installed a new bridge over Brush Run Creek along the Arrowhead Trail section of the Montour Trail in Peters Township, Pennsylvania, eliminating a dangerous on-road detour that forced trail users to navigate a blind curve with vehicular traffic. The project received grant funding from a variety of sources, but RTC funds were crucial to enabling volunteers to install important safety features, including signage, bollards, approach markings and fencing. The completed project now allows for uninterrupted off-road travel along the Montour Trail through Peters Township.

Joe Louis Greenway

Meeting to discuss the Joe Louis Greenway | Photo courtesy Detroit Greenways Coalition
Meeting to discuss the Joe Louis Greenway | Photo courtesy Detroit Greenways Coalition

Grant Program: Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund
Location: Highland Park, Michigan
Trail: Joe Louis Greenway
Grantee: Detroit Greenways Coalition
Award: $5,000
Year: 2017

Activities: Update map/brochure, public engagement, partner/funder engagement

RTC grant funding in 2017 helped the Detroit Greenways Coalition raise awareness of, and build support for, construction of the Joe Louis Greenway rail-trail segment within the city of Highland Park, Michigan. The Joe Louis Greenway is the largest urban trail project within the state of Michigan. It began as a community vision to use 8 miles of abandoned rail corridor to create a 26-mile loop trail that will extend the existing Detroit RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut Greenway into local neighborhoods. Specifically, funds were used to update the map and brochure of the trail, conduct outreach in the community, and build capacity to better engage with potential partners and funders about the trail project.

Great Allegheny Passage

Pinkerton Trail along the Great Allegheny Passage | Photo by Milo Bateman
Pinkerton Trail along the Great Allegheny Passage | Photo by Milo Bateman

Grant Program: Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund
Location: Somerset County, Pennsylvania
Trail: Great Allegheny Passage
Grantee: Allegheny Trail Alliance
Award: $60,000
Year: 2015-16

Activities: Rehabilitation of Pinkerton Tunnel

A multiyear grant from RTC in 2015 and 2016 helped support the Allegheny Trail Alliance’s efforts to fully rehabilitate the Pinkerton Tunnel along the iconic Great Allegheny Passage (gaptrail.org). The 849-foot tunnel had significantly deteriorated over the years since the Western Maryland Railway last used it, requiring a 1.4-mile detour for trail users (upon the opening of this section of trail in 1999). As part of the rehabilitation project, a liner spanning the length of the tunnel was installed, a new trail surface was laid, and both portals were refaced. The new tunnel opened to trail users for the first time in September 2015.

Lafitte Greenway

Lafitte Greenway | Photo by TrailLink user trailsforall
Lafitte Greenway | Photo by TrailLink user trailsforall

Grant Program: The Coca-Cola Foundation Metropolitan Grants Program
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Trail: Lafitte Greenway
Grantee: Friends of Lafitte Corridor
Award: $7,000
Year: 2012

Activity: Community engagement for future rail-trail

Continuing RTC’s longstanding support of the development of the Lafitte Greenway, the Friends of Lafitte Corridor were awarded a grant in 2012 to host their annual “Hike the Lafitte Corridor” event. More than 100 participants gathered to walk the former rail corridor, learn about its history and envision plans for future trail development. Beyond the event, the grant from RTC enhanced the Friends of Lafitte Corridor’s ability to engage community members in the planning and design process of the Lafitte Greenway. In large part due to RTC’s early support of the project, the Lafitte Greenway opened to great fanfare in 2015.


RTC’s Trail Grants Program is made possible by the generous support of individuals, families, foundations and corporations. To learn more about becoming a sponsor, please email majorgifts@railstotrails.org.

Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund
Coca-Cola Foundation Logo
FedEx Logo
PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources logo
REI Co-op Logo