National Forest System Trail Stewardship Grants Awarded for 2024

Sixteen Trail Stewardship Projects Funded on National Forests Across the U.S. 

The National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partners (Trail Partners) Funding Program awarded a total of $215,000 to support 16 trail maintenance and improvement projects across every Forest Service region in the contiguous U.S. Projects will be completed this year and will bring vital capacity to trail stewardship.

The Trail Partners grant program is a joint partnership between the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the US Forest Service, in collaboration with American TrailsAmerican Hiking SocietyBack Country Horsemen of America, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation CouncilInternational Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), and the American Motorcyclist Association. The grants support organizations leading trail maintenance efforts in National Forests and distribute funds across the trails community, both geographically and by recreation community. 

In addition to the maintenance work completed, these grants get thousands of volunteers involved in public lands stewardship, adding significant leverage to Federal dollars. The projects selected this year will maintain, improve, and repair 920 miles of trail, engage approximately 2,250 volunteers in 39,000 hours of maintenance work, and will match federal dollars with $1,723,000 in cash and in-kind support at a ratio of 8:1. 

“The National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance values ongoing partnership with the USDA Forest Service and our national trails community to get much-needed funding on the ground for critical trail maintenance projects that increase access, engage the public, promote sustainable use, and stretch federal dollars,” said Joelle Marier, Executive Director of National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance. “I am continually impressed by the energy, dedication, and passion every single applicant brings to public lands stewardship. This year our partners really brought the fire, leveraging federal dollars at an 8:1 ratio. I am particularly grateful for the ongoing support from our collaborating organizations whose reviewers contribute many hours of their valuable time year to year to represent their communities and help select the best and most diverse projects.” 

Chad Schneckenburger, USDA Forest Service Acting National Trail Program Manager adds that, “Investing in the Trail Stewardship Partner Funding program has proved to be an excellent way to help actualize the vision and meet the goals of the 10 Year Trails Shared Stewardship Challenge —to increase the collective capacity to care for National Forest System trails while simultaneously increasing the number of trail miles that are well-designed, well-maintained, and well suited to support recreation use today and into the future. These grants encourage partners, volunteers, and the general public to become engaged with their National Forest System trails and provide an excellent return-on-investment for the American taxpayer.”

“IMBA values the opportunity to work with the U.S. Forest Service and to leverage volunteer trail maintenance with this federal grant funding,” said IMBA Executive Director David Wiens. “Trails serve as effective tools for conservation and wildlife habitat protection and are truly common ground for public access to outdoor recreation. Trail stewardship is a long standing value of the mountain biking community so it is great to partner again with these national trails organizations to raise the profile of the many volunteers across the country doing great work.”  

“Back Country Horsemen of America is again proud to participate in this important program for trail-related maintenance,” said Mark Himmel, Chairman of the organization. “Keeping trails open for everyone is our mission. We are grateful that the U.S. Forest Service has put aside funding for this trail granting opportunity nearly every year since 2017, as it benefits all trail users throughout the National Forest System.”

The Trail Partners Funding Program is made possible through the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Act of 2016. The Act significantly increases the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance to aid in addressing backlogged projects such as signage upgrades, trail clearing, reroutes, bridge and structure repair, and improvements to drainage. The funding comes from dedicated USFS funds, demonstrating the significance the agency gives to the program.  

Congratulations to all of the organizations receiving funding this year:  

Access Fund 
Backcountry Horsemen San Joaquin Sierra Unit 
Backcountry Horsemen Sierra Freepackers 
Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation 
Cloud City Wheelers 
Colorado Fourteeners Initiative 
Continental Divide Trail Coalition 
Headwaters Trails Alliance 
La Veta Trails 
Methow Valley Trails Collaborative 
Mountain Bike the Tetons 
New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors 
Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation 
Washington Trails Association 
Wild Alabama 
Wilderness Volunteers

A big thanks to Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado for these great photos from their 2023 projects!