On Nov. 17, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) announced the recipients of over $300,000 in grants as part of the 2021 Trail Grants Program. These grants were given to 45 organizations around the country to advance trail projects in their communities as part of TrailNation™ networks and along the preferred route of the Great American Rail-Trail™.
This year’s awards make up the largest amount of money given by RTC to the most trail organizations in a single year. Of the total $308,500 given in this grant cycle, $283,500 was given directly by RTC to support and accelerate the work of our partners on the equitable development of trails and active transportation systems while $25,000 was given by a generous anonymous donor. These investments represent RTC’s commitment to working directly with community organizations to create meaningful walking and bicycling connections that can positively impact economic and health outcomes in their communities.
In Baltimore, Maryland, grants were distributed to nine community organizations working to advance the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network. This investment will support partners in designing programming and events that inspire neighborhoods to connect with each other and enjoy the benefits of trails, walking and biking throughout the city. The Baltimore recipients are as follows:
- Urban Oasis, $11,500
- Friends of Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park, $3,000
- Friends of Herring Run Parks, $3,000
- Bikemore, $5,000
- Brewers Hill Neighborhood Association, $3,000
- Baltimore Green Map, $3,000
- BYKE Collective, $5,000
- The Belair-Edison School, $2,500
- Black People Ride Bikes, $5,000
RTC is working with more than 50 organizations across the San Francisco Bay Area as part of the Bay Area Trails Collaborative. This year, three partners from this collaborative have been awarded grants to increase community awareness of, the 2,700-mile developing trail network connecting the region’s diverse attractions, recreational options and communities.
- Bike East Bay, $14,000
- Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition, $3,500
- Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, $7,500
The Capital Trails Coalition is creating connections across the National Capital Area through the development of an more than 800-mile trail network spanning cities and suburbs across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Grants were given to these organizations to activate and empower people to enjoy the benefits of walking, biking and trails through local events and activities designed to show how connected trails can impact communities.
- Black Women Bike, $5,000
- Gearin' Up, $7,500
- Friends of Oxon Run, $5,000
- Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, $5,000
In Texas, the vision of the Caracara Trails is to weave together the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s cultural, historic and natural resources across an emerging 428-mile network. This grant led by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health Brownsville will further build momentum around the region by promoting public health on and off the trail.
Across Greater Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, the Circuit Trails are becoming a destination all their own. The 800-mile Circuit Trails network aims to connect the region’s diverse neighborhoods to parks, employment opportunities and other destinations. Investments were made to organizations increasing awareness of and neighborhood engagement around the developing Richmond Industrial Trail. This will be a critical neighborhood connection to the regional trail network in North Philadelphia.
RTC is working with countless partners between Washington, D.C., and Washington State to bring the vision of the 3,700-mile Great American Rail-Trail to life. The trail is anticipated to bring a windfall of economic opportunity and tourism dollars to the communities through which it passes. These grantees received a total of $50,000 to fund trail projects and critical maintenance along this cross-country trail.
- Knox County Park District, Ohio, $10,000
- Cardinal Greenways, Indiana, $10,000
- Iowa Bicycle Coalition, $2,000
- Mineral County Montana Rails-to-Trails, Montana, $2,000
- Bike Walk Nebraska/MoPac Alliance, $10,000
- Platte River Trails Trust, Wyoming, $2,000
- Palouse to Cascades Trail Coalition, Washington, $10,000
- Pine Creek Community Restoration Long Term Recovery Organization, Washington, $4,000
The Industrial Heartland Trails network spans more than 1,500 miles across 51 counties in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. When complete, the network will aid in establishing America’s Industrial Heartland as a destination for all. These grants will support two municipal organizations in Ohio and West Virginia that are filling in critical gaps that will connect parts of the trail network to Pittsburgh.
In Florida, the Miami LOOP trail network is gaining momentum to make getting around by foot, bike or wheelchair more equitable and accessible across Miami-Dade County. The Miami LOOP is set to connect communities and tourist destinations, such as Loan Depot Park, through a cohesive trail system. These awards add to the more than $124,000 RTC has awarded to advance the network in the last decade.
- Bike Walk Coral Gables, Inc, $1,500
- Miami River Commission (Miami River Greenway), $10,000
- Friends of the Flagler Trail / Urban Health Partnerships, $2,500
- Friends of the Ludlam Trail, $2,500
- Everglades Bicycle Club, $1,500
- The Underline, $1,000
- Friends of the Commodore Trail, $1,000
Across New England, a number of cross-state trails are forming and connecting to create a larger inter-state trail system, called the New England Rail-Trail Network, bringing the power of a regional trail system to as many as six states. State advocates in New Hampshire are working together to develop new trails across the state through the New Hampshire Rail-Trail Coalition and the development of the River Park trails system.
- New Hampshire Rail-Trails Coalition, $5,000
- Friends of River Park, New Hampshire, $15,000
- Friends of the Northern Rail Trail, New Hampshire, $25,000
In the greater Milwaukee area, the Route of the Badger network is creating connections across the region's communities. The 700-mile network aims to connect urban Milwaukee with suburban and rural communities in Southeast Wisconsin. To advance this work, RTC has awarded grants to seven community organizations working to address the diverse needs of the region and explore the potential of the trail system.
- Union Grove Rails to Trails, $7,000
- 30th Street Industrial Corridor Corporation, $5,000
- Northwest Side Community Development Corporation, $7,000
- Havenwoods Neighborhood Partnership/Villard Avenue Business Improvement District, $8,000
- Near West Side Partners, $4,000
- Urban Ecology Center, $4,000
This investment by RTC is made to further empower and engage our many partners working on the ground to develop trails and community programming that supports trails and active transportation. These grants add to the more than $2 million in trail development grants that RTC has distributed to projects across the country since 2008.