On Wednesday, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) announced that it has awarded a combined $300,000+ in grants to 25 organizations working in rural, suburban and urban communities across the country as part of the 2022 Trail Grants program.
The program supports local and national organizations who share RTC’s commitment to building a welcoming and equitable outdoor experience for everyone via safe, accessible walking and bicycling routes. This latest round was focused on projects designed to remove barriers to trail use through programming and community-led initiatives focused on creating an inclusive trail experience.
Among the grantees are organizations developing outdoor programs for Communities of Color and women, as well as programs to engage youth and build outdoor skills and career-ladder opportunities. This includes three nonprofits with a nationwide focus on diversity in the outdoors, and 22 local organizations serving populations within the footprint of RTC’s TrailNation™ network portfolio and the 3,700-mile Great American Rail-Trail®.
Below is a breakdown of this year’s awards.
Three national organizations received a total of $75,000 to support programming and activities that celebrate diversity in the outdoors and position multiuse trails as vital spaces that encourage more people from more backgrounds to get outside.
Baltimore Greenway Trails Network | A TrailNation Project
RTC is working with community organizations across the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network to advance the proposed 35-mile urban trail network. A $35,500 grant investment will support partners in designing and implementing programs and events so residents—including Baltimore’s youth cycling community—can benefit from access to trails and public spaces across the city. Among the recipients are:
Bay Area Trails Collaborative | A TrailNation Project
The Bay Area Trails Collaborative, a coalition of more than 50 organizations chaired by RTC, is working to develop a 2,600-miles-plus trail network that connects the region’s nine counties. This year, two partners from the collaborative have been awarded $12,000 to promote the trail network through community rides and wellness programming in Richmond, California, a predominantly Black and Brown community. Both grant recipients have strong programs engaging these diverse populations, with a special focus on youth. The grantees are as follows:
Capital Trails Coalition | A TrailNation Project
In the nation’s capital, organizations are coming together to support the development of an 800-miles-plus trail network spanning multiple cities and suburbs across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. A total of $22,500 was granted to the following organizations to encourage and empower communities within the footprint of the Capital Trails Coalition to demonstrate the impact of connected trails and active transportation, and to provide bike-mechanic job training for teens and young adults:
The Circuit Trails | A TrailNation Project
The Circuit Trails Coalition is bringing together organizations across Greater Philadelphia and southern New Jersey to connect 800 miles of trails and surrounding communities on both sides of the Delaware River. A combined $90,000 in grants will support the development of this network in Greater Philadelphia's Kensington, Fairhill and Port Richmond neighborhoods and provide assistance for community programming, with generous support from the William Penn Foundation. The recipients include the following:
Great American Rail-Trail
RTC is working with local partners between Washington, D.C., and Washington State to bring the vision of the 3,700-mile Great American Rail-Trail to life. These grantees received a collective $20,000 for trail programming for Black women and youth in Columbus, Ohio, to introduce them to local experiences along a portion of the cross-country route:
Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition | A TrailNation Project
The Industrial Heartlands Trails Coalition network is working to connect 51 counties across Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York with 1,500 miles of multiuse trails. The following grantees, serving Cleveland and Pittsburgh, have received a combined $10,000 for programming and advocacy efforts that focus on ensuring safe walking and biking infrastructure for all, particularly for people in underserved communities and those facing road safety challenges:
Miami LOOP | A TrailNation Project
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. RTC Trail Grant recipients in Miami received $16,000 to carry out beautification efforts and lead youth bicycle-safety programs throughout the county. The recipients are as follows:
- Miami River Commission
- University of Miami, KiDZ Neuroscience Center at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
Route of the Badger | A TrailNation Project
In Southeast Wisconsin, the Route of the Badger network is creating connections throughout the region—with a focus on connecting urban Milwaukee with suburban and rural communities across 700 miles. The following organizations received a total of $20,000 for programming that will raise awareness of the developing trail network, while addressing needs and barriers to the outdoors among their diverse communities. The recipients are as follows:
- Northwest Side Community Development Corporation
- Red Bike & Green
- Riverworks Development Corporation
Through the Trail Grants Program, RTC emphasizes strategic investments that support significant regional and community trail development goals, but that may be difficult to finance within traditional funding streams. Since 2008, RTC has awarded more than $2.3 million in grants to 332 projects around the country.
For more information, go to RTC’s Trail Grant’s page.
RTC 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 trails and active transportation or related fields to join now and be one of the first to learn more about the collaborative in early 2023!