Federal Recreational Trail Program

Program purpose:

To encourage the maintenance and development of motorized, non-motorized, and diversified trails by providing funding assistance.

Eligible projects:

Motorized and non-motorized trail projects; maintenance/restoration of existing recreational trails; development/ rehabilitation of recreational trail linkages, including trail side and trail head facilities; environmental awareness and safety education programs relating to the use of recreational trails; and redesign/relocation of trails to benefit/minimize the impact to the natural environment.

Ineligible activities:

Condemnation, trail construction in federally designated wilderness areas, and facilitating motorized trail use on trails predominantly used by non motorized users prior to May 1, 1991.

Who may apply:

All projects must be sponsored by a unit of government, preferably in cooperation with a local trail organization.


The Minnesota Recreational Trail Users Association annually prioritizes funding categories prior to the solicitation process. Projects that involve urban youth corps workers such as the Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa  will be given special consideration. (Download the Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa Fact Sheet for more information.)

Level of assistance:

A 25% cash or in-kind match for eligible elements of the project proposal is required. Costs must be incurred and paid for before reimbursement. Neither this funding source nor the cash match may be used to meet existing payroll; only contract services, materials and supplies are reimbursable. Federal funds can in some cases be used as match for this program.

The minimum grant request is $2,500, and the maximum trail grant award is $150,000. Maximum request per equipment grant is $75,000. Equipment grant requests also require a 25% secured match. 

General information:

Funding comes from revenue received by the Federal Highway Trust Fund. All projects funded in 2021 must be completed by June 30, 2023.

How to apply:

The completed application is due February 26, 2021. Grant application materials are linked below.

Grant awards

The Department of Natural Resources and the state’s trail advisory council will review and rank applications during the spring of 2021. Grant awards will be announced in summer of 2021; however, funds will first become available in November, 2021.

Funded grants

Trail grants

Equipment grants

Contact information:

Dan Golner, Grants Specialist Coordinator, 651-259-5599
[email protected]

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Parks and Trails
500 Lafayette Road, Box 39
Saint Paul, MN 55155

Applications are reviewed by DNR and the state's trail advisory council, the Minnesota Recreational Trail Users Association (MRTUA).

Related DNR programs: