DEEP Requests Proposals for Recreational Trails Grants

HARTFORD, CT – Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is now accepting proposals for the State’s Recreational Trails Grants. This request for applications is the largest funding round in the history of the Recreational Trails Grant program since it was established in 1997. It will make $9 million available to improve Connecticut’s trail infrastructure, which has seen significant usage increases since the onset of the pandemic. Applications will be accepted through March 1, 2023.

Trails are an important contributor to Connecticut’s growing $3.9 billion outdoor recreation economy, so their design, construction, expansion, and maintenance is a critical need.

Any private nonprofit organizations, municipalities, state departments, and tribal governments may apply. This grant program will help support communities’ management of increases in trail usage that have endured as more residents and visitors are recreating on the more than 2,000 miles of multi-use trails and bike paths that crisscross the state.

DEEP has revamped the application and scoring to create more equitable competition for projects connecting Environmental Justice communities to the outdoors, and DEEP encourages organizations supporting these communities to apply. The updated application reviews whether proposed projects are in DECD distressed municipalities, evaluates “community connections” enhanced by proposals, and ensures community engagement in the project planning process.

Connecticut Recreational Trails program funds may be requested for uses including:

Planning and design of trails
Construction of new trails (motorized and non-motorized)
Maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails (motorized and non-motorized)
Access to trails by persons with disabilities
Purchase and lease of trail construction and maintenance equipment
Acquisition of land or easements for a trail, or for trail corridors
Operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection as related to recreational trails

Connecticut awarded a total of $3 million in trail grants to 20 projects earlier this year during the last call for proposals. Those grants were selected by the Connecticut Greenways Council from among 65 applications, and awarded amounts ranged from $2,023 to $457,100. Examples of the various projects selected included:

A grant to the City of Danbury for a multiuse trail route planning
Funding maintenance of the Hockanum River Trail in Vernon
A boardwalk replacement at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill

Visit https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Outdoor-Recreation/Trails/CRT–Funding for details and applications. DEEP will hold a webinar on January 11, 2023, to provide an overview on the CT Recreational Trails Grant program and application; refer to our website for more details. For further information contact, Kimberly Bradley, DEEP Recreational Trails & Greenways Program, at (860) 424-3938.