Recreational Trails Program (RTP)

Recreational Trails Program (RTP)

Local Programs Division
Arkansas Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 2261
Little Rock, AR 72203-2261
Phone: (479) 360-7161

2024 Sample Resolution

2024 Project Cost Estimate Sheet

2024 Application

Please use the link below to fill out the application. If you are applying for more than one project you will need to fill out a new application each time.

2024 Application Link

2024 Sample Resolution

2024 Project Cost Estimate Sheet

Program Information

This program, administered by the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT), provides funding to local project sponsors (public and private/nonprofit agencies) to construct and maintain motorized and non-motorized recreational trails and trail support facilities. The ARDOT works closely with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to administer this Program. The enabling legislation for the program can be reviewed at

Project sponsors apply for program funds through a competitive process with the applications being reviewed by the Arkansas Recreational Trails Advisory Committee.  (ARTAC).  ARTAC consists of 12 members, 11 of whom are appointed by the ARDOT Director, representing various types of trail users, with the last member being a non-voting member from FHWA. Successful applicants must submit plans and specifications for the project, provide proof of ownership of the property on which the trail lies, obtain all necessary environmental clearances and permits, and enter into a contract with ARDOT.  These sponsors are then responsible for performing the work described in the contract. As work on the project is accomplished, sponsors are eligible to request reimbursement from ARDOT. No “up-front” or “start-up” funds are available.

Reimbursement Program

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a reimbursement-type grant program.  The program provides for an 80 percent federal share and 20% non-federal share for each project.  The main priority in allocating funding is for the construction of new trails and for major maintenance of existing trails.  Support facilities such as restrooms, benches, trailhead parking and lighting have been viewed by ARTAC as less important.  In the past, FHWA has approved the following as they specifically relate to recreational trails:

  • new construction
  • relocation of existing trails
  • major maintenance of existing trails
  • bridge purchase and installation
  • bridge construction
  • interpretive brochures
  • trail education materials
  • lighting
  • landscaping necessary to heal construction damage along paved trails
  • bike racks
  • trail signs and marking
  • trail head facilities
    • restrooms
    • parking areas
  • bulletin boards
  • all terrain vehicle/dirt-bike loading ramps
  • water supply
  • drinking fountains
  • trash receptacles

The following have not been approved:

  • landscaping beyond that necessary to heal construction damage along paved trails
  • irrigation equipment, or maintenance cost of previously funded trail equipment
  • visitor center construction/improvements, playground equipment, picnic tables, or sidewalks

Who is Eligible

Applications for trail projects will be accepted from:

  • local governments, including city and county governments
  • regional transportation authorities
  • transit agencies
  • natural resource or public land agencies
  • school districts, local education agencies, or schools
  • tribal governments
  • Metropolitan planning organizations that serve an urbanized area with a population of 200,000 of fewer
  • any other local or regional governmental entity with responsibility for or oversight of transportation or recreational trails
  • Nonprofit 501(c)(3)

Program Limitations

The federal act outlines a formula for state grant spending: 30% of the funds are reserved for uses related to motorized trail recreation, 30% are for uses related to non-motorized trail recreation, and the remaining 40% is discretionary for “diversified” trail use that gives preference to project proposals which (i) provide for the greatest number of compatible recreational trail purposes or (ii) provide for innovative recreational trail corridor sharing to accommodate motorized and non-motorized recreational trail use.  The program will limit the amount granted for any individual project in one application period to a maximum grant amount to be set at the beginning of each funding cycle.

RTP Flyer