Infrastructure & Trails


From our Research Library:

The Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA) in partnership with the Fiscal and Economic Research Center (FERC) at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater analyzed and quantified the economic impact of the Ice Age Trail.

Staff and students working for the Survey Research Center at UW-River Falls were instrumental in the completion of this study. The spending of CAMBA users is estimated to have boosted the Bayfield and Sawyer County economies with a total impact of $7.8 million. 

Funding is available to create or update a Comprehensive Safety Action Plan or to implement measures in an established plan. Counties, cities, towns, special districts of a state, transit agencies, MPOs, tribal governments and multijurisdictional groups are eligible to apply. Informational webinars can be viewed here. 
FY24 Notice of Funding Opportunity for SS4A is expected to open in Spring 2024.

FLAP provides funds to improve transportation facilities that provide access to, are adjacent to, or are located within Federal lands, with an emphasis on high-use recreation sites and economic generators. Applicants must be state, county, tribal or city government that owns or maintains the facility. Requires a 20% non-federal source match.
Visit the website to find the current status of calls for projects by state.

The RAISE grant program, formerly known as BUILD and TIGER, provides funding for surface transportation projects. 

This EDA program provides funding to empower “distressed communities to revitalize, expand and upgrade their physical infrastructure” and can also be utilized to help redevelop brownfield sites and increase eco-industrial development. Administered by regional offices.
Contact the regional (Chicago) office to apply.

This NPS program provides matching grant funds to state and tribal historic preservation offices for the restoration of properties that are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Application deadlines vary by program.

This EPA program is for sites that are contaminated from years of industrial use, federal funds are available to remediate environmental pollution. Several types are offered including direct funding for brownfields assessment, cleanup, technical assistance and more. 
Applications for most FY2024 opportunities are due November 13, 2023.

Provides matching grant funds to assist states in the “acquisition, restoration, management or enhancement of coastal wetlands.” Wisconsin projects bordering the Great Lakes are eligible. Although trails cannot be the primary beneficiary of these funds, the program has been used to work on trail infrastructure.
Applications are typically due in early June. Visit the website to contact a regional coordinator.

The RTP provides funding to states to help develop and maintain trails for both motorized and non-motorized recreational use. In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources administers these funds on behalf of the FHWA. Funds may be used to reimburse up to 80% of eligible project costs.
Applications are due May 1 annually.

The stateside and local assistance program of the LWCF is administered in Wisconsin by the Department of Natural Resources. Municipal and tribal governments, school districts and other state political subdivisions are eligible to apply for funding for the acquisition or development of outdoor recreational areas and facilities. Grants cover 50% of the cost. Projects must be supported by the local or State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.
Applications are due May 1 annually.   

ORLP is a new national competitive program of the Land and Water Conservation Fund targeting grant assistance to help urban communities acquire and/or develop land to create or reinvigorate public parks and other outdoor recreation spaces. 
Projects are selected by the Director.

With certain exceptions, projects that met eligibility criteria for the Safe Routes to School Program, Transportation Enhancements, and/or the Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Program are eligible TAP projects. All TAP projects require sponsors to pay 20% of approved project costs. Additional information is available via Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
Applications​ for the 2024-2028 Program are due October 27, 2023.

CMAQ encourages transportation projects that improve air quality including efforts to enhance public transit, bicycle/pedestrian facilities, ridesharing programs and facilities, and technologies that improve traffic flow and vehicle emissions. CMAQ funds are only available in Wisconsin non-attainment and maintenance counties as defined by the EPA: Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, Walworth, Sheboygan, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Door. All CMAQ projects require sponsors to pay 20% of approved project costs.
Applications for the 2024-2028 Program are due September 1, 2023.

HUD provides annual grants on a formula basis to local governments and states for a wide range of community planning initiatives. Funds are intended for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income persons, prevent or eliminate slums or blight and address urgent community development needs. In the past, CDBG funds have been used for trail construction.
Deadlines vary based on program subtype.

Funding to construct, renovate and maintain boating infrastructure facilities for transient recreational vessels at least 26 feet long. Program administered by Wisconsin DNR.
Applications are due June 1 annually.

This nationwide competitive grant provides funding to states and private marinas or businesses for the construction, renovation, operation and maintenance of floating restrooms or pump-out and dump stations used solely by boaters or educational materials to help keep the nation’s waterways clean. 
Applications are accepted year-round. Contact the DNR grant manager to discuss before applying.

Available to local governments and nonprofits, Stewardship grants fund recreational development and conservation land purchases statewide. Local Units of Governments applying require a 50% match. Federal funding from Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and Recreational Trails Program (RTP) are also administered by the Wisconsin DNR and can be utilized as match. Contact a Grant Manager or Regional Project Manager for more information.
Application deadlines vary by grant type. 

Counties, local units of government and tribes can apply for funds to acquire, develop, insure and maintain ATV/UTV trails, areas and routes. This reimbursement grant only covers costs incurred once a contract is signed.
Applications are due April 15 annually. 

Counties and tribes may apply for funds for trail and bridge rehabilitation projects for snowmobile trails. These funds are also utilized to reimburse over 600 snowmobile clubs for some of their expenses related to developing and maintaining snowmobile trails. 
Applications for maintenance and development projects are due April 15 annually and on August 1 annually for supplemental maintenance.

Funding is available to counties, towns, cities, villages and tribes to acquire, insure, develop and maintain ATV/UTV trails, areas and routes. Snowmobile trail funding is also available to counties and tribes for projects that help provide a statewide system of well-signed and well-groomed snowmobile trails for public use and enjoyment. A 20% local (non-state, non-federal) match is required. 
Applications are due April 15 annually.

Funding is available to counties, local governments, sanitary districts, public inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts and qualified lake associations for recreational boating facility projects including ramps and service docks, weed harvesting, dredging and navigational aids.
Applications are accepted any time and reviewed June 1, September 1, November 1, and February 1.

Funding is available for boat ramp construction and renovation, channel dredging, parking lots, accessible paths, lighting and restroom facilities. Funding for this program is from federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and a portion of the federal gas tax. Counties, local governments, tribes, sanitary districts, public inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts and qualified lake associations may apply. Between 25-50% non-federal matching funds required.
Applications are due February 1 annually.

Funding is available for construction of fishing piers primarily designed to provide public access for shore fishing. Funding for this program is from federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and a portion of the federal gas tax. Counties, local governments, tribes, sanitary districts, public inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts and qualified lake associations may apply. Between 25-50% non-federal matching funds required.
Applications are due October 1 annually.

Projects should be designed to achieve one or more of the following: create vibrant public spaces, focus on diversity and inclusion, deliver a range of transportation or mobility options, support local recovery from the pandemic through public infrastructure, accessible and affordable housing developments, increase civic engagement and more.
Application cycle typically opens in February.
The Trail Fund is a joint initiative of the Trails Move People Coalition, led by American Trails, to assist the trails community with funding to support maintenance, research and stewardship training needs. New trail projects are not eligible.
Grant is expected to be offered annually. Applications are due April 15 each year.
The National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partner Program provides funds to trail and stewardship organizations to improve trail maintenance on the National Forest System Trail System.  It is intended to encourage and support volunteer and stewardship group trail maintenance accomplishments and trail deferred maintenance backlog on the National Forest trail system. 
Applications are due April 15 each year.

Gr​​ants focus​​ on bicycle infrastructure projects and will fund engineering, design, construction and labor costs up to $10,000 and not more than 50% of the total project costs. Nonprofits as well as city, county, state or federal agencies or departments may apply. 
Applications are due October 31 each year.

Established in 2021, the Trek Foundation funds trail projects that help preserve land, are open to the public and free to use, and will be activated by the local community. 
Requests accepted at anytime. 

Funding for organizations and local governments for developing and improving multi-use trails.

The IMBA Trail Accelerator grant program offers awardees professional trail planning and consultation services to launch their trail development efforts, which can often leverage additional investment from local, regional, and national partners.
Applications are due August 31. 

MAP: Connecting People to Forests focuses primarily on in-person community engagement and completion of stewardship activities. The program aims to create lasting change that allows communities, especially underserved communities, opportunities to benefit from activities on National Forest System lands or adjacent public lands. Nonprofits, tribal governments and organizations, and universities are eligible. Grant requires a 1:1 non-federal cash match. 
Round 1 2024 applications due January 16. Round 2 2024 opens in Spring 2024.

A group of member outdoor businesses make up the Conservation Alliance which provides grant funding for projects that protect threate​ned wild places across North America that also have a clear recreational benefit. 
Must be nominated by a member company of the Alliance before applying. Two cycles annually.

Funds for trail maintenance, research and stewardship for all types of trail users across the country. 
Check website for 2024 application dates.

Funded for five years through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Legacy Trails Program supports partner trail projects that further the Legacy Roads and Trails criteria on National Forest System trails.
Applications are due December 1, 2023.

Grants for outdoor access and recreation.
Must be invited by a local store to apply.

Two $3,500 grants are awarded annually to applicants pursuing a program or initiative designed to benefit our environment. Examples include trail building or restoration projects, park beautification events, litter prevention initiatives, sustainable land management activities, community environmental educational projects and youth educational engagement events. 
Applications for the spring grant cycle are due by 10:59 CST on June 30 and by 10:59 CST on October 30 for the fall cycle. 

The Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative accepts applications quarterly from nonprofit or tax exempt groups (clubs and associations), public riding areas (local, state and federal), outdoor enthusiast associations and land conservation organizations, and communities with an interest in protecting, improving, expanding and/or maintaining access for safe, responsible and sustainable use by motorized off-road vehicles. 
Applications are accepted quarterly.

The USTA offers business development, advocacy, technical and financial support to improve or construct tennis facilities across the country. Each applicant is appointed a project consultant for personalized support and service. 
Service applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Grants of $1,000 to $300,000 are provided to nonprofit organizations and state or local agencies, for projects that are designed to increase equity in underserved areas, are built from concrete by experienced skatepark contractors and include local skaters in the planning, fundraising and design process. 
Letters of Inquiry are accepted year-round. Awards announced quarterly.

The RTCA program offers technical assistance (not funding) for locally-led conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country. Projects do not need to be on federal lands. Applications are required for the program.
Applications are due March 1 annually.

The educational flyer includes active links that illustrate the path to developing new trails in nine basic phases.

FHWA is focused on supporting transportation agencies to plan, develop and operate equitable streets and networks that prioritize safety, comfort and connectivity for all people who use the street network. A Complete Street is safe, and feels safe, for all users.

NATCO’s guide is based on the practices of the best cycling cities in the world to provide solutions that help create complete streets that are safe and enjoyable for bicyclists.

AASHTO’s guide provides information on how to accommodate most bicycle travel and operations in most riding environments, meeting the needs of bicyclists and other highway users. 

With case studies and questions to consider for your project, this guide breaks down the steps and provides insight for successful partnerships that bring trail projects to life.

View the interactive book or purchase a hard copy online. The guide is written for land managers responsible for bringin bike-optimized mountain bike trails to their communities. Released in 2023.

​This extensive guide describes effective practices for planing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of rails-with-trails facilities.

This online guide breaks down the steps to developing trails with in-depth coverage, technical tips, templates and more. 

A library of resources (including the Guide for a Quality Trail Experience), webinars and an annual on-site workshop help educate and prepare groups to thoughtfully plan, design and build new trails. IMBA also offers these services to groups through their Trail Solutions program.

A designation by the U.S. Secretary for the Department of Interior provides many benefits including access to technical assistance and preference for some funding sources.

All kinds of resources from articles to guides to webinars that provide information and guidance for all things trails.

A literature review and interviews with national trail organizations, this white paper explores existing research, highlights project examples, and identifies research gaps for trails in connection to climate resilience, emergency response, and public health emergencies.​

Free promotional materials and assets to help create a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for anyone who steps, rides or rolls onto any trail, anywhere.

River Access Planning Guide | River Management Society​​​
A step-by-step procedure to evaluate existing and anticipated uses, site selection and design facilities that support desired recreation experiences while also protecting natural resources.

Guidance on how to implement equitable and inclusive engagement strategies. It is geared toward transportation sector practitioners but is adaptable and useful for other types of community projects also.

Designed to help land managers understand how people with disabilities engage with the outdoors and provides recommendations and best practices for creating inclusive public spaces.