Recreational Trails Program Awards Grants for Local Projects


An aerial view of Fort Macon State Park. The park and the Town of Atlantic Beach were recently awarded a grant for a connector trail.

Photo by Bill Russ/

North Carolina outdoor enthusiasts will soon have more recreation opportunities. State officials recently announced an award of $2.1 million in grants through the federal Recreational Trails Program for 25 trails projects across the state.

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. It will also promote tourism for the enjoyment of the state’s natural resources.

“North Carolina is known for its extensive and beautiful trails throughout the state that serve a variety of recreational activities,” Hamilton says. “I am pleased to see this program provide citizens and visitors with access to healthy and affordable recreation across the state.”

The Recreational Trails Program is administered by the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with Federal Highways Administration funding routed through the North Carolina 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,” North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation Director Mike Murphy says. “Working in partnership with many outstanding government and nonprofit organizations, we are able to maximize these investments and address the increased demand for trails in communities across the state.” 

The local governments, agencies and trails groups receiving grants in the most recent cycle are:

  • Burke County: Fonta Flora State Trail – Northwest Connection Boardwalk along the shore of Lake James, $100,000
  • Burke County: Fonta Flora State Trail – Northwest Trail Connection between the Mountains to Sea Connector Trail and the new boardwalk, $100,000
  • 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
  • USDA Forest Service, Cheoah Ranger District: Tsali Equestrian and Mountain Bike Trail Improvement – Phase II, $100,000
  • N.C. High Peaks Trail Association, Inc.: Mount Mitchell Trail Renovation Project – Phase III, $52,460
  • Portofino Homeowners Association: Equestrian trail repairs for connection to Mountains to Sea Trail, $77,200
  • Fort Macon State Park/Town of Atlantic Beach: Connector Trail, $99,974
  • Town of Murphy: Piney Knob Trail System, $100,000
  • Town of Franklinville: Deep River Rail Trail, Phase II —connection to Riverside Park, $95,935
  • USDA Forest Service Uwharrie National Forest: Home Trail Extension – Reroute and Trail Maintenance, $75,000
  • Town of Kitty Hawk: David Paul Pruitt, Jr. and Twiford Road Multi-Use Paths connecting N. Croatan Highway to The Village, $59,518
  • USDA Forest Service Uwharrie National Forest: Badin Lake Existing Motorized Trails Archaeology Survey, $100,000
  • USDA Forest Service Uwharrie National Forest: Dickey Bell Trail and Daniel Trail – Reroute and Bypass Surveys, $100,000
  • USDA Forest Service Uwharrie National Forest: Badin Lake – Motorized Trails Maintenance, $85,000
  • USDA Forest Service Uwharrie National Forest: Badin Lake Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Complex– Access Roads Maintenance, $64,000
  • USDA Forest Service Grandfather Ranger District: Brown Mountain OHV Maintenance, $98,400
  • USDA Forest Service Grandfather Ranger District: Mortimer Area Multi-Use Trails renovations, $100,000
  • USDA forest Service Grandfather Ranger District: Brown Mountain OHV Vehicle for trails access in Brown Mountain system, $28,000
  • Davidson County: Daniel Boone Heritage Canoe Trail – Wil-Cox Bridge and York Hill Access improvement projects, $100,000
  • N.C. Zoological Park & Society– Expanding Natural Woodland and Hiking Opportunities, $48,335
  • City of Wilson: Hominy Creek Greenway and Water Quality Park, $99,999
  • Tarheel Trailblazers: Colonel Francis Beatty Park first loop of a Pump and Flow Trail in Matthews, $50,000
  • Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association Pisgah: Black Mountain Trail Relocation and Extension, $100,000
  • Triangle Land Conservancy: Walnut Hill Nature Preserve, $100,000
  • McDowell County: Lower Catawba Falls Access safety and accessibility improvements, $100,000

Safety and Education awardees are:

  • Carolina Mountain Club: Wilderness First Aid Class for Hike Leaders, $5,000
  • Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail: Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC) Chainsaw Class, $2,700
  • East Coast Greenway Alliance: Southeast Greenways and Trails Summit, $5,000

Source: North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources


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