The Rhode Island Departments of Environmental Management (DEM) and Transportation (RIDOT), and the Rhode Island Trails Advisory Committee have awarded 28 projects a total of $1,524,725 in recreational trail grants from federal transportation funds. The grants will support trail development and improvement projects, as well as trail construction and maintenance equipment.
Communities and non-profit organizations receiving the grant money include Appalachian Mountain Club, Audubon Society of RI, Barrington, Blackstone Park Conservancy, Blackstone River Watershed Council, Borders Farm Preservation, Inc., Burrillville, Coventry, Cumberland, Glocester Land Trust, Hopkinton Land Trust, Jamestown, Johnston Historical Society, Newport, Norman Bird Sanctuary, North Kingstown, North Providence, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, Pawtuxet River Authority, Smithfield, The Nature Conservancy, Tiverton Open Space Commission, Warren, Warwick, and Westerly Land Trust.*
The local trails grants draw upon federal funds made available under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). The grants may be used to create new recreational trails, as well as restore and improve existing recreational trails, for both hikers and other trail users. The grants may also be used for trail construction and maintenance equipment such as tractors, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and brush cutters. The grants provide 80 percent of the cost, up to $100,000, for projects that promote and enhance trail based recreation.
"We are pleased to present these federal grants that will enhance and improve hiking paths and walking trails in communities across the state," noted Governor Lincoln Chafee. "Rhode Island's numerous recreational trails are heavily used by the public and perfect places to take a walk or just enjoy nature in a peaceful, relaxing setting."
"We've been working with municipalities and non-profit organizations to provide new and expanded opportunities for Rhode Islanders to explore the beauty of our state's natural areas and woodlands," said Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit. "Kudos to our partners for the great work they're doing to enhance and upgrade existing nature trails and hiking paths and create new opportunities for public trail access site throughout Rhode Island."
"Since transportation takes on many forms, we are grateful to partner with the Governor's Office and our sister agency, DEM, in presenting these valuable grants to help improve our ever-growing system of recreational trails, while providing unique transportation alternatives for Rhode Islanders," said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis.
The 16-member Recreational Trail Advisory Committee is made up of recreational trail users and representatives of DEM, RIDOT, and the State Department of Administration. Under an interagency cooperative agreement, DEM administers the grant program with funds made available by RIDOT and the Federal Highway Administration.