SOUTHWICK – The Baker-Polito Administration announced earlier this week that they’ve awarded over $3.9 million in order to fund design, maintenance, and construction for 75 trail projects throughout Massachusetts. The grant is being funded through the state’s RTP (Recreational Trail Program) and other state funding.
Gov. Charlie Baker expresses his thoughts on the grant.
“The Commonwealth’s network of trails offers residents and visitors outdoor recreational opportunities, while also serving as connections between regions and communities,” said Baker. “These grants will aid local organizations, municipalities, and other stakeholders in their efforts to build and maintain trails throughout Massachusetts.”
The press release from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation describes the way the RTP grant is funded.
“The grants are funded by both federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds and state capital funds. Federal RTP funds are received directly from the motor fuel excise tax on off-road vehicles including ATVs and snowmobiles, and are provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Surface Transportation Act, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). All RTP grant applications have been reviewed by the Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board (MARTAB), which is an independent volunteer board appointed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner.”
Southwick is a local community that is being positively impacted by the grant. The trail in Southwick on Rising Corner Road will be receiving $31,577 in order to build a more stable parking lot for the trail, as well as a trail that leads to the floating boardwalk, which has been identified as a concern, since the poles to stabilize it aren’t deep enough.
The AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club), a non-profit organization that takes care of more than 350 miles of trails across five states in the Northeast, applied for the RTP this past winter. The AMC originally requested $43,000 from the Baker-Polito Administration, with $10,000 of that being matched by volunteers of the AMC. Instead, along with the $31,577, the AMC will have to match $12,071 of that.
According to Bridget Likely, coordinator for the New England National Scenic Trail, the RTP grants require at least 20% in matching funds from the organization applying for the grant.
The New England National Scenic Trail is the official organization of the trails in the local area and assists the Appalachian Mountain Club with funding to help support projects.
Likely shared her thoughts on the announcement from the state.
“The AMC is thrilled to have been awarded the grant for the project,” said Likely. “We’re always looking for new ways to increase public access on the New England National Scenic Trail, and the RTP funding will allow us that opportunity.”
The project for the Rising Corner Road trail is anticipated to take place in the summer of 2019.