National Forest System Trail Stewardship Grants Awarded for 2023

Seventeen Trail Stewardship Projects Funded on National Forests Across the Nation

The National Forest System Trail Stewardship (NFSTS) Funding Program awarded a total of $262,000 to 17 trail projects in US Forest Service regions across the nation.

The NFSTS partnership grant is a joint partnership between the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the US Forest Service, in collaboration with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), American Trails, American Hiking Society, Back Country Horsemen of America, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, and the American Motorcyclist Association. The grants support organizations leading trail maintenance efforts in National Forests.

In addition to significant trail maintenance, this funding engages thousands of volunteers and adds significant leverage to Federal dollars. The slate of projects selected this year will support maintenance and repair of 975 miles of trail, engage approximately 3,225 volunteers in 48,750 hours of maintenance work, and match federal dollars with $1,554,000 in cash and in-kind support at a ratio of 6:1.

“The National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance is proud to be working with the USDA Forest Service and our trail stewardship partners to distribute funding to a variety of trail user groups to address critical trail maintenance needs on National Forest system trails” said Joelle Marier, Executive Director of National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance. “By bringing together diverse partners from across the nation, we engage thousands of volunteers, leverage funding to accomplish more work at less Federal expense, and support essential trail maintenance and repair projects to maintain access and facilitate sustainable use of our national forest trails for all.”  

“American Hiking Society is proud to join the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the USDA Forest Service, in collaboration with the broader trails community, in support of funding for these projects” said Tyler Ray, Senior Director of Programs and Advocacy, American Hiking Society. ”The National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partner Funding Program is a critical way to address trail maintenance by leveraging non-profit partnerships that improve access for hikers and all types of trail users across the Forest Service.”

IMBA Executive Director David Wiens said, “IMBA values the opportunity to work with the National Forest System and to strengthen connections among national trail organizations. Trails are truly common ground for environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation. We will continue to engage and educate our IMBA Local partners on funding and advocacy opportunities that bring more trails close to home.”

"Back Country Horsemen of America appreciates the manner in which the US Forest Service has made trails a national priority, including these annual Trail Stewardship grants," said Mark Himmel, Chairman of the organization. "We're excited to see Back Country Horsemen and a number of diverse trail user groups receive grants that bolster the efforts of volunteers and partners to keep forest trails open and enjoyed by the public."

The NFSTS 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 local stewardship groups that received grants this year:

Ascend Wilderness Experience

Backcountry Horsemen of California, Mother Lode Unit

Backcountry Horsemen of Oregon, Sourdough Unit

Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation

Continental Divide Trail Coalition

Friends of Panthertown

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness

Hungerford Trail Riders Association

Tuff Riders Los Alamos, NM

Munising Bay Trail Network

New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors

Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance

Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association

Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

Washington Trails Association

Wildlands Restoration Volunteers