2022 RTP Application Guidance

2022 Recreational Trails Program (RTP)

RTP Application Guidance

To submit an online 2022 RTP Application through SCTrails.net, you will first be required to create a username and password.


Only sponsors that have submitted a Letter of Intent forms by the deadline are eligible to apply. 


What's the amount of funding available for RTP grants in 2022? Approximately $1,200,000 has been the annual amount received for South Carolina in recent years, but funding availability can not be guaranteed until RTP Reauthorization is confirmed.

Who can apply? Local, state, and federal governmental agencies; qualified private organizations; and registered nonprofits (see Funding for additional requirements below)

What sorts of recreational facilities can receive a grant? Generally, recreational trails and trailhead facilities that are open to the public; these guidelines will explain the requirements and restrictions.

What is the maximum federally funded grant amount per project? $100,000^—this does not apply to Motorized projects. Motorized projects are eligible for the maximum amount of Motorized funding available. 
^Note: South Carolina Trails may waive the maximum amount of an approved project if the project is determined to have statewide or regional significance. 

What is the minimum federally funded grant amount per project? $10,000

Do grant funds have to be matched? Yes—RTP requires the sponsor to provide at least 20% of the total project cost. The Sponsor makes payments first, then RTP will reimburse up to 80% of the total project cost. Your 20% match can be contributed in the form of hard cash or approved in-kind services.

Is RTP a reimbursement grant program? Yes—the sponsor makes payments and requests for reimbursement afterward.

When is the application deadline? TBA

What is the target date for award? Spring 2022 (this general date will be updated as we near the application due date)

How many copies of the grant application are required? Only the online SCTrails.net submission is required (physical copies are no longer necessary).

If any questions arise while preparing the application, please call the State Trails Coordinator, Neal Hamilton, at (803) 734-0735.


The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) administers the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) under the approval of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). This federally funded program receives its funding from a portion of federal gas taxes paid on fuel used in non-highway recreational vehicles. Funds can be spent on both Motorized and Nonmotorized recreational trail projects to construct new recreational trails, improve/maintain existing trails, develop/improve trailhead or trailside facilities and acquire trail corridors.

Funding provided by this program is on a cost-reimbursement basis. Project sponsors must initiate their approved projects with their own funds and be reimbursed up to 80 percent of allowable costs after submitting documentation of expenses. Individual trail grants can range from a minimum of $10,000 ($12,500 would be the total project cost) to $100,000 maximum ($125,000—total project cost), with the exception of the Motorized projects. Motorized projects are eligible for the maximum amount of Motorized funding available. Projects will be selected for funding with the help of the State Trails Advisory Committee made up of both Motorized and Nonmotorized trail users. Selected projects must comply with FHWA funding requirements and be in accordance with all applicable federal laws and executive orders, state, and local laws and regulations.

Priorities for funding are based on the South Carolina State Trails Plan: Expanding the Experience, Trails for South Carolina (2002) and advice from South Carolina’s State Trails Advisory Committee. Projects will be evaluated in terms of their overall quality, need, public support, planning process; that adequate resources are available to execute the project; and that resources are available to adequately manage, maintain and operate the project after completion.

Private nonprofit organizations, local trail volunteer groups, and private operators of recreational facilities open to the public are encouraged to work with federal, state, and local government agencies to develop RTP grant applications. The State’s goal is long-term development and management of SC Trails by fostering cooperative efforts among these groups.


Available Funding

The Recreational Trails Program requires that not less than 30 percent of the monies received annually shall be used for uses relating to Motorized recreation and not less than 30 percent shall be used for uses relating to Nonmotorized recreation. To ensure diversified trail use, the remaining 40 percent shall be used for Diverse trail uses.

These are the minimum requirements and may be exceeded—projects are not necessarily selected exclusively in these three categories. For example, a Diverse/Nonmotorized use (walking and biking) project may satisfy the 40% Diverse requirement and the 30% Nonmotorized requirement simultaneously. There could potentially be Diverse/Motorized projects, Diverse/Nonmotorized projects, and projects which benefit both Motorized and Nonmotorized use simultaneously. It is unnecessary for sponsors to present their projects in any single category—all Nonmotorized and Diverse projects will be ranked by score only.

Applicant Match

This is a reimbursement program; therefore, the grant recipient must pay 100% of the cost of an item before submitting a request for reimbursement for 80% of eligible costs.

For Example: $5,000 in eligible billings submitted
                        X  80%
                    = $4,000 reimbursed to grant recipient

The program allows the donation of private funds, materials, right-of-way, and services at fair market value to be counted toward the match. However, donations of pre-existing state or local government right-of-way, materials, or services cannot be credited toward the local match. This federal program allows federal funds, materials, programs (NCCC, AmeriCorps (the Corps Network), Palmetto Conservation Corps, Environmental Conservation Corps, etc.) or services to credit 15% toward the match for a total of 95% federal. However, equipment previously purchased with federal trails funds cannot be used as project match. Only non-federal equipment can be used as project match.

Reimbursements will be made only for those items that were listed on the Project Agreement and subsequently approved amendments. Normally, requests for reimbursements are processed, and funds are dispersed within 6 to 8 weeks.

Procurement Procedure Requirements – In order to receive reimbursements, grantees are required to follow and provide documentation of procedures for the purchase and/or rental of materials, the rental of equipment, and contract services associated with any awarded grant.


Eligible sponsors include state, federal, and municipal government agencies or qualified private organizations. Private organizations include for-profit or registered nonprofit organizations that operate recreational facilities open to the public. The trails program encourages community-based partnerships.

Nonprofit organizations must meet all of the following requirements to be determined eligible to receive RTP grant funds:

  • Nonprofit organizations that are registered at the time of application with the Secretary of State under South Carolina's Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act are eligible. Nonprofit organizations need to include a copy of their confirmation letter of registration with their project application. For additional information, see South Carolina’s Secretary of State's official website (http://www.scsos.com/) or call 803-734-1790.
  • Nonprofit organizations determined at the time of application by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be a tax-exempt organization pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are eligible. All nonprofit organizations need to include a copy of their IRS tax-exempt letter with their project application.
  • An organization described in section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code which engages in lobbying activities is not eligible.

For-profit and Nonprofit applicants are required to have at least one full-time employee on their staff that can be reached during normal business hours.
In addition, the organization's personnel must demonstrate the financial ability to execute the project and maintain/operate a deed-restricted property for twenty-five years. (For-profit organizations approved for funding will have additional conditions in their Project Agreement.)


  • Construction of new recreational trails open to the public on state, county, municipal or private lands where a recreational need for such construction is shown
  • Construction of new recreation trails crossing federal land if the project is consistent with resources management plans—approval will be contingent upon compliance with all applicable laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act and the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
  • Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages for recreational trails—trailside and trailhead facilities include trail components or associated facilities which serve the purpose and safe use of the recreational trail, and may include, but are not limited to, the following: drainage, crossings, stabilization, parking, signage, controls, shelters, hitching rails, bike racks, fencing, motorized access barriers, underpasses, and water, sanitary, and access facilities
  • Acquisition of easements or fee simple title from a willing seller to property for recreational trails or recreational trail corridors—only governmental agencies are allowed to purchase property
  • Maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails
  • Lease of recreational trail construction and maintenance equipment 
  • Provide access and use of recreational trails by persons with disabilities
  • Redesign, reconstruction, nonroutine maintenance or relocation of recreational trails to benefit the natural environment or to mitigate and minimize the impact to the natural environment
  • No more than 5% of total project costs on construction engineering or planning costs (environmental evaluation and documentation, permits or approvals)


  • Condemnation of any kind of interest in property
  • Construction of new recreation trails for motorized use on National Forest or Bureau of Land Management lands that have been recommended for Wilderness designation
  • Upgrading, expanding, or otherwise facilitating motorized use or access to recreational trails predominantly used by nonmotorized recreational trail users and on which, as of May 1, 1991, motorized use was prohibited or had not occurred
  • Road construction or sidewalks
  • Purchase of recreational trail construction and maintenance equipment
  • Administrative staff time, overhead or indirect charges are not allowable charges
  • Feasibility studies
  • Playground equipment
  • Exercise station equipment


  • Your project should be shovel ready by May 2022. If not, please do not apply in this cycle; wait until the next RTP cycle to apply.
  • Project sponsors may submit up to two applications in a grant cycle.
  • Projects will be required to meet a minimum score of 120 points to be determined eligible.
  • Projects will be awarded in the order they're ranked in—Nonmotorized and Diverse projects will be ranked by their application score only—as a single category—Motorized projects will be ranked separately with other Motorized projects. (SCPRT will handle placing projects in their appropriate categories. There are times when additional funds become available from projects that came in under budget and for various other reasons. If this occurs, the additional funds will be offered to the next highest scoring project that was not originally funded.)
  • We are unable to score incomplete applications. Incomplete applications will be returned without consideration for funding.
  • The RTP requires a match. The share attributable to RTP may not exceed 80 percent of the total project cost.
  • A Federal agency project sponsor may provide its own funds toward RTP projects as additional Federal share up to 95 percent of the project cost. Under this provision, a Federal agency project sponsor may provide any amount of funds, provided the total Federal share does not exceed 95 percent. The sponsor must provide the remaining project amount from a non-federal source.
  • Project costs are eligible only if they are incurred after the project has been approved, awarded and the Project Agreement has been signed. Sponsors cannot be reimbursed for work done prior to the Agreement Date.
  • Project sponsors will have 18 months to complete the project after the Project Agreement has been signed.
  • Grant funds will be paid on a reimbursement basis.
  • If admission, the user, or other fees are charged for the use of the land, facilities, or buildings that were rehabilitated, developed or acquired with funding from the RTP, the fee structure must be reasonable and cannot be discriminatory to non-residents of the local area. The fee structure and use of program income will have to be approved by the SCPRT - State Trails Program and be specified in the Project Agreement.
  • Up to 5% of the total project amount may be expended on construction engineering or planning costs (environmental evaluation and documentation, permits, or approvals). Cultural or threatened and endangered species surveys — if completed within 18 months of the award date — may be eligible to use as match, if preapproved.
  • Projects should solicit Disadvantaged Businesses when contracting out work.
  • Projects involving new construction or renovation of facilities must provide access in accordance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Projects which are approved for funding for work on public lands will be required to enter into a separate agreement with the agency (or agencies) to undertake the work.
  • Projects approved for funding for work on private lands must enter into an easement or other legally binding agreement that ensures public access to their recreational trail.
  • Projects shall comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
  • Federal Agencies awarded RTP projects should include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), South Carolina Division as a Cooperating Agency on all NEPA work. Non-Federal Agencies awarded should involve FHWA, SC Division as the Lead Federal Agency on all NEPA work.
  • Projects shall comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations.
  • Projects shall comply with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Supercircular.
  • Projects approved for funding may require additional documentation prior to receiving a Project Agreement. It is the responsibility of the Project Sponsor to secure the required documentation and submit it to SCPRT - State Trails Program.
  • Projects approved to acquire an easement or purchase land in fee simple will be required to comply with the terms of Title II and Title III of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policy Act of 1970 and the applicable requirement and procedures implementing such Act and other provision of federal laws and executive orders as identified under the Project Agreement. Acquired property will be restricted subject to Section 6(f)(3) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. Only governmental agencies are allowed to purchase a property.
  • All project sponsors are required to attend a fiscal briefing before receiving a signed Project Agreement.
  • Because of the competitive review process, an increase in funding or significant changes in project scope will not be considered.


Applicants must submit a 2022 RTP Letter of Intent form by Oct. 1, 2021 to be eligible to apply for RTP funds. All applicants can submit their application through SCTrails.net. Please follow the online application instructions below. 

The following instructions are provided to assist you in the development of your RTP application:

  • Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding and will be returned to the applicant—without being scored. Do not leave any sections blank, use "N/A" when appropriate.
  • Physical applications are no longer required, there is no longer a need to mail a physical bound application to SCPRT.
  • Provide enough detail in your project description so that the SC Trails Review Team can clearly understand your project. 
  • All supporting materials, such as maps and drawings, must be no larger than 8.5” x 11”. 
  • Please be sure to scan your support documentation in color. Otherwise, the review team won’t be able to interpret trail routes accurately.

Applicants are required to submit an online application by [TBA].

Start early and finish early—applications received after the deadline will be returned unopened to the applicant and will not be graded.

Please remember to save your application for future reference. If you're in need of assistance, call the State Trails Coordinator, Neal Hamilton, at (803) 734-0735.


To complete an RTP Application—once your Letter of Intent is submitted and approved—you may access the SC Trails 2022 RTP Application. If you already have an SCTrails.net account, you be asked to sign-in. If you do not have an SC Trails account, simply create an SCTrails.net profile (username and password) to access the RTP Application. (SCPRT recommends physically jotting down your login information on a piece of paper, then storing in a safe place.)

Please input your information accordingly into the online application. All fields are required unless otherwise noted. You may input “N/A” if the question/field isn't applicable to your project.

To save your Project Application, so you can return to it later, simply click on the “Save as Draft” button. There is one located at the beginning of the application—in between Sponsor Information and “Sponsor Name”—there is another “Save as Draft” button at the very end of the application on the right-hand side.

After saving your draft, to continue working on the 2022 RTP Application, click on "My Trails" and then "My Saved Forms" and you will see "2022 Recreational Trails Program Application." Click on the "Edit" link next to "In-Progress Forms" to continue working on your application. 


When documents are uploaded, or attached to your application draft (such as the SHPO section 106 form), then saved, your attached file will not show up when you return to work on your draft. The document uploaded/attached was received, but it is recommended to attach all files before you submit your 2022 RTP Application. If there are any doubts regarding whether or not your attachments were received, please call Neal Hamilton at (803) 734-0735, who can confirm that the files went through.


A detailed summary of the request and match expenses for your project must be completed in the Financial Information / Detailed Budget section. Please only list items on the budget summary sheet that have a direct link to the completion of the project and are eligible for RTP reimbursement. Individual items and expenses may be adjusted or denied at the discretion of SCPRT.

Grant recipients must be able to finance the project while periodically requesting reimbursement. 


Acceptable In-Kind Matches and Expenditures:

  • Volunteer Labor - Work performed outside of the workers/volunteers professional capacity (skilled and unskilled labor) — $25.47 per hour
  • Skilled Labor - Work performed within the worker/volunteer's professional capacity — must provide proper documentation showing the individual's hourly rate
  • Service Contracts - Contracted services for any combination of labor, equipment rental and operation, and/or materials
  • Design & Engineering - May be included, only through use of a professionally licensed engineer or trail design planner — total cost may not exceed 5% of the total project cost
  • Land Acquisition - Appraised value of land — applications submitted for land acquisition must include the development of the recreational trail
  • Donated Land - Appraised value of land donated after fully executed agreement with SCPRT with proper documentation of land value
  • Materials - Materials needed to complete projects such as lumber, steel, fasteners, concrete, stone, culverts, mulch, seed, etc.
  • Donated Materials - Fair market value of materials donated to the project with proper documentation from the provider
  • Trail Signs & Trailside Amenities - Educational/interpretative signage, shelters, benches, trash receptacles, lights, kiosks, etc.
  • Equipment - FEMA equipment rates – see the website at fema.gov/schedule-equipment-rates