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Resources for Local Leaders

Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, SC | Photo by TrailLink user iancurcio

Trail and active transportation networks have a transformative impact on local communities—essential to quality of life and the well-being of people, places and the environment. Officials at the local, state, regional and federal levels often hold the keys to funding or policy changes to catalyze networks.

Take the Pledge

Local leaders serve a vital role in strategically applying for and using state and federal funding available to create, connect and maintain trails and other walking and biking infrastructure. This signals to the state and federal governments that trail and active transportation networks are a priority for the nation.

Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) needs your help to make clear to state and federal officials that new investments and policy change are needed to proliferate trail and active transportation networks across the country—and that this is essential infrastructure for the nation.

Resources for Trail and Active Transportation Network Development

With unprecedented demand and funding available for active transportation in communities across the country, local elected officials will have a transformative impact on creating and implementing once-in-a-generation changes to trails and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.

That’s why RTC is working with local leaders across the country to provide tools to help them access new funding and resources to successfully plan, build and maintain connected trail and active transportation networks for their communities.

Here are resources to help secure funding and create trail and active transportation networks in your community:

Federal Funding

In November 2021, Congress passed the Infrastructure Jobs and Investment Act—also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—that included the five-year reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs. This bill significantly increased funds for trails and active transportation programs, bolstering familiar, long-standing programs and added new funding opportunities for trails, walking and biking.

RTC’s federal funding resources offer the latest information about potential federal funding opportunities for trails and active transportation, as well as tools to help communities successfully apply for grants or navigate reimbursement programs.

RTC’s Federal Funding Tool

Find potential funding sources for your trail network. Use RTC’s funding tool to help determine which federal funding source may be best suited for your project.


At RTC, we believe that communities are healthier and happier when trail networks are central to their design. That’s why we’re committed to connecting trails and building comprehensive trail systems that bring people together and get them where they want to go.

TrailNation brings to life our vision of trails at the heart of healthy, thriving communities by showcasing the impact of trail networks and redefining how we create them–so we can more quickly connect trails across the country. We’re bringing together the model projects, the leaders and champions, and the resources to accelerate the pace of equitable trail development nationwide, creating new access to this essential infrastructure and the benefits it brings for everyone in America.

Trail-Building Toolbox

The trail-building toolbox is where you can get all the basics for creating a vibrant rail-trail for your community, including technical tips and tried-and-true methods for generating neighborhood, political and funding support for your project.

Ways To Stay Connected

Stay connected to RTC’s network of leaders and advocates across the country. We share updates on funding announcements alongside insights about what’s happening with trail network development across the country.

Inside Track Policy Newsletter

Sign up for The Inside Track to receive the latest updates from inside Capitol Hill, the White House and—when relevant—state legislatures. Best suited for: elected or appointed officials and their staff; advocacy organizations, businesses, industry groups and similar entities involved in the trail-related space; and trail and active transportation policy enthusiasts.

TrailNationTM Collaborative

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is launching the TrailNation Collaborative—a new multidisciplinary learning community that offers proven tools and methods to establish and grow trail networks across the country.

We welcome anyone interested or working in trail and active transportation or related fields to join the Collaborative.