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Rivers, Trails And Conservation Assistance

Program Descriptions

Program Number



Rivers, Trails And Conservation Assistance


Federal Agency




Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, 16 U.S.C. 1271-1287 as amended, Public Law 90-542; National Trails System Act, 16 U.S.C. 1241 as amended, Public Law 90-543; Outdoor Recreation Act of 1963, 16 U.S.C. 4601-3, Public Law 88-29; Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 797-828c.






The Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program implements the natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation mission of the National Park Service in communities across America. RTCA will help create local, regional and state networks of parks, rivers, trails, greenways and open spaces by collaborating with community partners and National Park areas in every state.


Types of Assistance

Advisory Services and Counseling.


Uses and Use Restrictions



Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Private nonprofit organizations and Federal, State and local government agencies.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Private nonprofit organizations and Federal, State and local government agencies.


None. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.


Application and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Program advice and information is available from the appropriate NPS Regional Office or the National Office. Consultation with an RTCA staff before an application for assistance is made helps clarify RTCA roles and contributions and also helps identify how the selection criteria might apply to your conservation and outdoor recreation goals. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102 and E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure

Information is available electronically at or you may contact the appropriate regional RTCA program leader. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular Nos. A-102 and A-110.

Award Procedure

Decisions are based upon adherence to program criteria and the level of available staff time.


Proposals should be submitted by August 1 for the following fiscal year.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Generally about 4 months.





Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

No fixed amount. Applications must demonstrate commitment by interested public agencies and non-profit organizations.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Generally 1 to 2 years.


Post Assistance Requirements








Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $7,697,000; FY 08 est $7,600,000; and FY 09 est not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

None. Staff assistance only.


Program Accomplishments

NPS Rivers and Trails has played a major role in community conservation and recreation through citizen-led, partnership approaches to river protection, trail development and land conservation.


Regulations, Guidelines and Literature

Project reports are available from NPS offices and the Web.


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Applicants are requested to communicate with National Park Service Regional Offices. Refer to Catalog Appendix IV or the web site, for addresses.

Headquarters Office

Chief, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, N.W., (ORG CODE 2235), Washington, DC 20240. Telephone: (202) 354-6900. Program inquiries should be directed to Charlie Stockman at E-mail:

Web Site Address


Related Programs

15.916, Outdoor Recreation-Acquisition, Development And Planning
15.918, Disposal Of Federal Surplus Real Property For Parks, Recreation, And Historic Monuments
15.919, Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program.


Examples of Funded Projects

Develop new trails and greenways; conserve and restore river resources, access and views; convert abandoned railways to multi-purpose trails; promote and develop systems of trails and greenways; preserve open space; and establish new conservation organizations and alliances. Examples of Rivers and Trails projects include: (1) The Lakes-To-Locks Water Trail in Puget Sound includes over 100 miles of shoreline and 100 launch and landing sites. The Rivers & Trails Program worked with the Washington Water Trails Association to build a broadbased constituency, to provide assistance in trail development, marketing, and map publication, and to help empower our partners to see their project goals come to life. (2) In New York, a 15-mile multi-use trail is being planned to connect four state parks and the communities of Ithaca and Trumansburg. Rivers & Trails has facilitated community involvement in the planning for the Black Diamond Trail, one success of which was to organize a Community Volunteer Work Day bringing together a local hospital, college students, youth groups and neighbors. (3) Along the Los Angeles River, Rivers & Trails worked with Los Angeles County to complete a master plan which has spun off multiple open space projects. For example, the opening of the one-mile Los Feliz section was celebrated by volunteers, neighborhood residents, and representatives of government associated with the project. The Los Angeles River offers an example of an effort enjoying lasting success. (4) Rivers & Trails Philadelphia based staff developed one of our first partnerships with the health care community in a project known as Wyoming Valley Wellness Trails in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania. The project focused on the development of a sustainable partnership to implement a trail system in a region with a strong community health initiative and provided opportunities for public participation through workshops and information meetings.


Criteria for Selecting Proposals

(1) Initial project partners are identified and a lead project partner is designated. Note: The lead partner may be a federal agency, state or local agency, tribe, nonprofit organization, or citizens' group. Federal agencies, including the National Park Service, maybe the lead partner only in collaboration with a nonfederal partner. (2) Project has specific, partner- defined goals and anticipated measurable results that are: clearly stated; support the National Park Service mission and RTCA mission and strategic plan goals; protect important natural resources or enhance outdoor recreation opportunities; and will have results that occur within an appropriate timeframe. (3) There is a commitment by lead project partners to significant public involvement and outreach in the project. (4) Roles and contributions of initial project partners, including RTCA, are identified. There is a commitment by initial project partners to cooperate and to provide or obtain the resources necessary to implement the project. (5) There is evidence of broad support for the project. Preference is given to a project that also: (a) provides physical connections among resources; (b) includes an NPS area as an actively involved project partner; (c) includes both natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation; (d) partners with a health organization.


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