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Recreational Trails Program


The Recreational Trail Program funds the development of community-based, motorized and non-motorized recreational trail projects. The program provides funds for all kinds of recreational trail uses, such as pedestrian uses (hiking, running, wheelchair use), bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving.


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 or 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, please see the Recreational Trails Manual. A Memorandum of Understanding outlining funding and project implementation responsibilities will 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 (there are restrictions on new trails on Federal lands)
  • Purchase of recreational trail construction/maintenance equipment or vehicles (Vehicle purchases required to be compliant with USDOT Buy America provisions). Documentation of specific tasks completed with purchased equipment is required

Preference will be to projects which:

  • Have broad-based community support
  • Provide linkages to or complete existing trails
  • Provide improvements to a trail in order 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 provide assistance to the project sponsor to acquire these approvals.

Approval Process:

Potential project sponsors must submit an application, which is screened then forwarded to the Recreational Trails Advisory Committee for review. 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, see Important Documents or 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


FY 2018 RTP Project Guidelines (PDF, 2.2 MB)
FY 2018 RTP Application (PDF, 227 KB)
FY 2018 RTP Application (DOCX, 106 KB)