ODNR Awards Nearly $15 Million in Grants to Expand Trails

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), has approved more than $14.9 million in project funding through the Clean Ohio Trails Fund, NatureWorks and Recreational Trails Program grants that will be used to improve outdoor recreational opportunities for Ohioans all across that state.

“By pursuing additional opportunities for Ohioans to enjoy the outdoors, these communities are investing in their overall health and in preserving the outdoor experience for our kids and grandkids,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “ODNR is proud to partner with the park districts, counties, cities and towns in Ohio that seek to create more outdoor recreational activities for the people in their communities.”

Clean Trails Fund: ODNR has conditionally awarded 22 Clean Ohio Trails Fund grants for community projects that will acquire trail corridors, build and improve trail infrastructure including regional trail systems, links to statewide trails, preservation of natural corridors and connections from urban areas to recreational areas. The investments help facilitate travel and provide safe and scenic trails where Ohioans can hike, bike, run or roll and build healthy lifestyles.

The $10.5 million in reimbursement funding will be used in 12 counties to develop 24 miles of new trail and for the construction of trail head facilities, a parking lot and four bridges for bike riders and pedestrians. Grant recipients provide a 25 percent local match for their projects. Ohioans approved the establishment of the $400 million bond program in 2000.

NatureWorks: ODNR has approved 89 NatureWorks state grants totaling nearly $3 million to develop and improve public access for outdoor recreation facilities across Ohio. Projects will include the development or improvement of 23 playgrounds, 11 park restrooms, eight shelters, 18 ballfields, tennis courts and basketball courts, 14 trails, two splash pads and pool components and more.

NatureWorks provides up to 75 percent reimbursement assistance to local subdivisions of government (townships, villages, cities, counties, park districts, joint recreation districts and conservancy districts) for the acquisition, development and rehabilitation of recreational areas. The projects are funded through the Ohio Parks and Natural Resources Bond Issue, which was approved by Ohioans in November 1993. Additional legislation authorized the creation of the NatureWorks Grant Program.

Recreational Trails Program: ODNR announced that 13 recreational trail projects in Ohio have been selected to receive approximately $1.5 million in federal funds through the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). ODNR administers federal RTP grants for the development and improvement of non-motorized and motorized trails. Projects include the creation and maintenance of trails and trail support facilities, improved access for people with disabilities and education about trail safety and the environment.

RTP is a reimbursement grant program that provides up to 80 percent of a project’s funding. Funding for the RTP comes through the U.S. Federal Highway Administration via a portion of the federal motor fuel excise tax collected from non-highway recreational fuel use.

To see which local Ohio communities will receive grant funding, go to realestate.ohiodnr.gov/outdoor-recreation-facility-grants.