Rails-to-Trails Conservancy recently announced the launch of the Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund—a new program created to support communities in implementing projects to build and improve rail-trails.
The fund, which was established with a grant from Jeff Doppelt of Great Neck, New York, and an additional donation from an anonymous donor, will make it possible for RTC to award $85,000 per year over five years to qualifying projects in two official categories: community support and project transformation. For detailed information on qualifying projects, check out the application instructions.
It’s no secret that funding has been—and remains—a huge challenge for trail development groups. In particular, many organizations have found it hard to raise funds for smaller projects and maintenance initiatives that don’t have hundred-thousand-dollar-plus price tags, but are still critical to the health or transportation connectivity of their regions.
Through this new Doppelt fund, RTC will help these organizations close gaps in their trail systems, build capacity and complete significant projects with long-term positive impact in their communities.
After a first wave of grants were awarded during the summer to trail groups in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Nebraska, RTC was pleased to be able to award three more grants this fall to several projects related to the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (IHTC):
- Harrison County Commission (West Virginia): $11,000 to reopen (including tools, labor costs and equipment) the 12-mile Harrison County North Rail Trail—which will close a major gap in the IHTC system. Scheduled for reopening in Spring 2016, this trail has been closed for several years due to brownfield remediation.
- Redbank Valley Trails Association (Pennsylvania): $8,000 to help build and provide the limestone surfacing for a 1-mile section (in a 9-mile gap) of the Redbank Valley Rail Trail, a connection of the Armstrong and Erie to Pittsburgh trails.
- Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Alliance, Inc. (EPTA) (Pennsylvania): $1,000 to assist in the completion of a three-year Strategic Plan for the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail.
And good news—the new round of funding just opened! All applications are due no later than Jan. 31, 2016, at 11 p.m. EST. Be sure to read the instructions carefully—as there are a few things you’ll need to do before you fill out the online application.
Also, we’ll be putting out updates about the program via RTC’s new “Trail Expert Network,” so if you’re a trail developer or trail advocate, we encourage you to complete this contact form. Via the network, we’ll also be sharing a lot of other news and policy information related to regional and national trail building—so stay tuned.
Congratulations to our recent grantees—and good luck to all in the next application round.