Today is National Trails Day—the perfect opportunity for RTC to announce the winners of our 2016 Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund grant awards.
Now in our third cycle, the Doppelt grant program supports communities across the country seeking to build and improve their multi-use trails. RTC is awarding a total of $85,000 per year over five years to help kick-start trail development projects, make significant improvements to existing trails and bring trail concepts closer to reality. While not the only eligible uses, the Doppelt grant program is unique in that funds can be used to match existing federal or state awards and for major trail maintenance projects—two notoriously difficult funding needs to fill.
RTC received an unprecedented 166 applications for this year’s awards, totaling more than $5 million in funding requests. These numbers speak to the incredible demand for rail-trails and trail networks across the country, and we encourage all the communities who applied to reapply this fall.
Fortunately, with the additional generous support of an anonymous donor, we are able to award nearly $100,000 to six worthy projects this year! Congratulations to our selectees, and thank you to all who applied.
Ecology Action of Santa Cruz (California)
Award: $7,500 for the fiscal sponsor of Santa Cruz County Friends of the Rail & Trail to increase education about, and support for, the 32-mile Santa Cruz County Coastal Rail Trail, which will be built parallel to freight and future passenger train service, in advance of a countywide sales tax ballot initiative that has $68 million allocated for the trail.
Great Shasta Rail Trail Association (California)
Award: $10,000 to hire a consultant (or multiple consultants) to assist in the management of grant-funded projects to open more of this trail, which currently spans 37 miles through the mountains of northern California. (Read about the launch of this rail-trail, part of which was made famous in the movie “Stand By Me!”)
Fort Wayne Trails, Inc. (Indiana)
Award: $20,000 to help construct a new portion of Fort Wayne’s Pufferbelly Trail, which will ultimately span more than 80 miles primarily along a former railway corridor. The new trail segment will include an above-grade crossing of a major road on the footings of an old railroad bridge, as well as a trail spur to Franke Park and the Fort Wayne Childrens’ Zoo, two of the most popular regional attractions.
Gallatin Valley Land Trust (Montana)
Award: $15,000 to improve the 1.5-mile Gallagator Trail in the heart of Bozeman, Montana, including the rehabilitation of three ailing trail bridges, repair of interpretive signage and installation of solar-powered trail counters to collect trail usage data.
Allegheny Trail Alliance (Pennsylvania)
Award: $20,000 to the Allegheny Trail Alliance for repair of the Pinkerton Tunnel, which created a continuous rail-trail connection through a section of the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage, eliminating a 1.5-mile detour upon the tunnel's opening in 2015. This award is a continuation of a 2015 award, and we are thrilled that Doppelt funds from both years contributed significantly to the restoration of the spectacular tunnel.
Cross Vermont Trail Association (Vermont)
Award: $25,000 to help construct a new 200-foot bridge over a large river and another 600 feet of trestle bridge, both of which are needed to span a gap in the corridor of the former Montpelier-Wells River Railroad which is otherwise mostly available for use as a trail. The gap, a physical bottleneck, is the most difficult problem in the statewide Cross Vermont Trail route.
We’re excited to see all the incredible projects that are being developed across the country. RTC will start accepting applications for the 2017 round of funding in December 2016; check back on the Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund web page beginning in October for more information on the application process and requirements.
You can also get up-to-date information about the program by signing up for our Trail Expert Network online.
Happy National Trails Day!