Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials will award $180,000 in federal funds to trails organizations and agencies this spring for the rehabilitation, maintenance and development of recreational trails in Montana.
The National Recreational Trails Fund Act (NRTFA), a federal program administered by the Federal Highway Administration, provides the funds to states from a portion of the federal gas tax paid on the gas used by recreational vehicles used in off-road situations.
The funds may be used for the development and maintenance of all types of recreational trails, both motorized and non-motorized, urban and back-country. The law guarantees that a total of 60 percent of the available funding will be used for development and maintenance of motorized and non-motorized trails (30 percent each) and that 40 percent will be used for "multiple-use" trails. "Multiple-use" includes any trail project that benefits more than one use, such as hiking and bicycling, snowmobiling and skiing, or any other combination of trail uses. In past years, 65 percent of the funding available for use in Montana has been used for non-motorized trail projects, primarily because of the demand for funds.
Montana, with more than 14,000 miles of developed trails, is one of the leading states in terms of trails opportunities offered. The NRTFA program helps to maintain and enhance existing trails, primarily in back-country environments, while allowing for new opportunities, primarily in urban areas.
Montana's State Trails Advisory Committee, an appointed committee that advises FWP on trails activities and recommends projects to be funded, will meet on Saturday, April 26, in Helena to review 39 applications for this year's NRTFA recreational trails funds. The Trails Advisory Committee comprises representatives from hiking, bicycling, ATV riding, snowmobiling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, 4X4 trucking and off-highway motorcycle riding. The meeting on the 26th will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the FWP headquarters in Helena.
The public is welcome to attend.