Continuing efforts to support the state’s vast network of trails, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $5 million in MassTrails Grants to 71 projects throughout the Commonwealth. The grants will provide assistance for the construction, maintenance, and improvements for a variety of public trails throughout the state trails system, such as hiking trails, bikeways, and shared-use paths. The announcement was made by Lieutenant Governor Polito during an event in Lowell.
“Massachusetts is home to thousands of miles of public trails, and today’s MassTrails Grants will aid in the improvement of these trails and assist in the creation of new sections for the public to enjoy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The MassTrails Grants serve as a great example of our administration’s dedication to ensuring that the Commonwealth’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources remain accessible for years to come.”
MassTrails Grants focus on the improvement of existing trails, the construction of new trails, and the maintenance of the statewide trail system. This year’s projects include facility landscaping and amenities installation; land surveys and design plans; evaluation of off-road bikeway connections; culvert repair and gradient restoration; hiring of trail staff; structure construction; installation and maintenance of directional and interpretive trail signage; development and creation of GIS mapping and trails guides; purchasing of trail maintenance equipment; and upgrading existing trails to accessible trail standards.
Funding for MassTrails Grants comes from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) capital budget, and from the motor fuel excise tax on off-road vehicles including ATV’s and snowmobiles, which is provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Surface Transportation Act, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). All MassTrails Grant applications have been reviewed in consultation with an inter-agency MassTrails Team and the Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board (MARTAB).
Additionally, each recipient matches awarded grants with a minimum of twenty percent in funding or in-kind services for the designated project. This year’s total investment, including matching funds, is approximately $14 million. In order to meet their funding obligation, an organization is able to utilize a variety of methods to fund at least twenty percent of the project’s total cost to receive the grant. Methods include in-kind labor and professional services, material donations, use of equipment, or a cash match. Funding is made available to registered non-profits and municipal, state, and federal agencies.
MassTrails Grant projects are located within the following municipalities: Adams, Amherst, Ashfield, Athol, Avon, Barnstable, Belchertown, Belmont, Boston, Bourne, Braintree, Brockton, Cambridge, Conway, Dedham, Deerfield, Edgartown, Fitchburg, Franklin, Foxboro, Groton, Great Barrington, Hancock, Hardwick, Hawley, Holden, Holliston, Ipswich, Kingston, Lawrence, Leverett, Lowell, Lunenburg, Lynn, Malden, Mansfield, Marblehead, Marshfield, Melrose, Montague, Monterey, Needham, New Bedford, Newton, North Adams, Orange, Palmer, Pembroke, Plainville, Plymouth, Rowley, Salem, Salisbury, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield, Somerville, Springfield, Sturbridge, Sunderland, Swampscott, Townsend, Waltham, Ware, Westborough, Westfield, West Tisbury, Wendell, Whately, Williamstown, Winsor, and Worthington. A full list and brief description of each of the 71 projects receiving a grant can be found on the MassTrails Grants webpage.