North Caroline state officials announced last week the award of $2.1 million in grants through the federal Recreational Trails Program for 25 trails projects across the state. For fiscal year 2018, the program received 53 grant applications totaling $4.4 million in requests.
The matching grants, recommended by the North Carolina Trails Committee and approved by Secretary Susi H. Hamilton of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, will help fund healthful recreation opportunities for hikers, cyclists, paddlers, equestrians and off-highway vehicle users throughout the state and will promote tourism for the enjoyment of the state’s natural resources.
The Recreational Trails Program is administered by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with Federal Highways Administration funding routed through the N.C. Department of Transportation. North Carolina has been awarded more than $32.9 million since 1999 for sustainable trail projects. These grants, combined with in-kind services and matching funds, have secured $64.3 million for local trail and greenway projects in the state.
In fiscal year 2017, 26 projects were awarded that totaled $1,995,573, plus eight safety and education grants totaling $37,700.
“These funds make North Carolina’s outdoors more accessible and outdoor exercise opportunities more convenient for a growing population,” N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation Director Mike Murphy said. “Working in partnership with many outstanding government and non-profit organizations, we are able to maximize these investments and address the increased demand for trails in communities across the state.”
Among the local governments, agencies and trails groups receiving grants in the most recent cycle include:
• City of Marion: Upper Catawba River Trail – Signage, kiosks, and maps for up to 30 access points along the Upper Catawba River Trail, $30,000
• N.C. High Peaks Trail Association, Inc.: Mount Mitchell Trail Renovation Project – Phase III, $52,460
• USDA Forest Service Grandfather Ranger District: Mortimer Area Multi-Use Trails renovations, $100,000
• McDowell County: Lower Catawba Falls Access safety and accessibility improvements, $100,000
• Carolina Mountain Club: Wilderness First Aid Class for Hike Leaders, $5,000
For a full list of all project awards, please click here.