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Recreational Trails Program

The Hogan Administration has announced more than $9 million in fiscal year 2020 grants to support bicycle and pedestrian safety and connectivity across the state. The Recreational Trails Program awards can be found here.

RTP Program Manual May 2018.pdf


Administered by the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA), this program is a reimbursable grant program that matches federal funds with local funds or in-kind contributions to implement trail projects. Projects can be sponsored by a county, a municipal government, or a non-profit agency (non-governmental agencies must secure an appropriate government agency as a co-sponsor).

Federal funds administered by the MDOT SHA are available for up to 80% of the project cost, matched by at least 20% funding from the project sponsor. For a list of eligible and ineligible expenses and match, see the Recreational Trails Manual. A Memorandum of Understanding outlining funding and project implementation responsibilities must be prepared by MDOT SHA and signed by all parties before the project funds are released.


Activities eligible for funding within this program include

  • Maintenance and restoration of an existing recreational trail
  • Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages
  • Construction of new recreational trails (note restrictions on new trails on federal lands)
  • Purchase of recreational trail construction/maintenance equipment or vehicles (vehicles must comply with USDOT Buy America provisions). Documentation of specific tasks completed with purchased equipment is required

Preference will be given to projects that

  • Have broad-based community support
  • Link to or complete existing trails
  • Improve a trail to benefit or mitigate impacts to the natural environment
  • Will be accomplished with volunteer youth conservation or service groups to perform construction and maintenance

Eligibility of Project Components

Projects must meet State and federal environmental regulatory requirements (National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (Section 7), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106), Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area Act, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO), and the Department of Transportation Act, Section 4(f)). MDOT SHA will help the project sponsor obtain approvals.

Approval Process

Submit an application, which will be screened and then forwarded to the Recreational Trails Advisory Committee. The recommendation of the Technical Committee and the proposal are forwarded to the Director of the MDOT SHA’s Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering (OPPE) for approval, partial approval or rejection. The project sponsor must receive written notification from MDOT SHA before the project can proceed.

For further information, contact:
Cheryl Ladota
Maryland Recreational Program Manager
Office of Planning & Preliminary Engineering
Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration
707 N. Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(p) 410-545-8552
(e) cladota@sha.state.md.us