Commission Agenda Item No. 11
Presenter: Trey Cooksey

Texas Statewide Recreational Trails Grants Funding
Recommended Approval of Trail Construction, Renovation, and Acquisition Projects
May 21, 2020

I.      Executive Summary:  With this item, the staff seeks approval from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) to award federal funds allocated under the National Recreational Trails Fund (NRTF) grants for trail construction, renovation, and acquisition projects.  This approval obligates federal National Recreational Trails Fund money to eligible trail projects based upon the recommendations of the Texas Statewide Trails Advisory Committee.


II.     Discussion:  The NRTF is funded by a portion of the federal gas tax generated by gasoline purchases to utilize recreational off-highway vehicles (OHV), such as off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers.  The purpose of the NRTF is to provide funding for projects that create new and maintain existing motorized and non-motorized recreational trails.  These federal funds are administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and distributed to states via a formula that considers state population and sales of fuel for off-road recreational vehicles.  Nationwide, the program was appropriated $85 million for federal fiscal year (FY) 2020; Texas’ share of these funds is $3,954,874.  Seven percent of the state’s annual apportionment ($279,638) is utilized to cover costs to administer the program, leaving $3,675,236 to fund projects.  Several projects funded in previous years were completed under budget and four projects were cancelled, creating another $700,000 available for re-allocation this year.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has been utilizing the re-allocated funding to fund trail improvements in state parks. The result is a total of $4,375,236 of federal funding available to fund eligible trail construction projects.

The program has an annual deadline of February 1st for local sponsors to submit trail funding proposals.  Forty-three projects were submitted for funding consideration requesting $7,832,700 in funds. Projects were evaluated and scored by the Texas Trails Advisory Committee.  Recommendations are to fund 22 of the projects totaling $3,711,400 of federal funding assistance.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act that created this funding stipulates that states must have a trails advisory committee made up of various trail user-group representatives to be eligible to receive the federal funds.  The purpose of the trails advisory committee is to provide guidance in the distribution of these funds.  The nine-member Texas Statewide Trails Advisory Committee met via conference call in March 2020 to review the submitted trail project proposals and develop a list of recommended projects for funding.  Each project was reviewed by the advisory committee and scored based on the quality of the project, its cost effectiveness, its impact on recreational trail opportunities, and the geographic distribution of funds.  Exhibit A contains the list of submitted projects, with funds requested, project descriptions, project scoring, and advisory committee funding recommendations.

An NRTF requirement is that 30 percent of the funds be spent on motorized recreational trail projects, 30 percent on non-motorized trail projects, with the remaining 40 percent designated as discretionary.  Because few public park entities in Texas provide opportunities for motorized trail riding, it is typically difficult to generate enough motorized trail proposals to meet the 30 percent motorized trail mandate.  As such, the grant funding limit for motorized proposals is $400,000 per project versus $200,000 for non-motorized proposals.


III.   Recommendation:  The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"Funding for 22 projects recommended in Exhibit A in the amount of $3,711,400 and state park trail improvements in the amount of $700,000 is approved."

Attachment – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Project Listing and Funding Recommendations

Commission Agenda Item No. 11
Exhibit A

Ranking of 2020 Recreational Trails Grant Proposals
Score Sponsor Project Name Project County Total Cost Funds Recommended Project Summary
54 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Palo Pinto Mountains State Park Trails Phase I Palo Pinto County $250,000.00 $200,000.00 Construction of approximately 6- miles of new -4-foot-wide natural surface multi-use trail (hiking/equestrian/mountain biking).
53 Central West Texas Trails Coalition Coke County Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Park Coke County $497,500.00 $398,000.00 Construction of approximately 4 miles of new OHV trails, maintenance training, development of water, power and sewer systems. Includes funds for trail tools and storage container, a parking area, and engineering.
53 Galveston Bay Foundation Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve Trails Chambers County $50,000.00 $40,000.00 Construction of a new 2.2-mile long by 6-foot wide trail. Includes boardwalk, signage, and trailhead kiosk.
53 San Angelo Twin Buttes Reservoir Public Hunting Lands Trail Improvements Tom Green County $300,000.00 $240,000.00 Renovation of approximately 2,000 feet of trail. Includes formal establishment of 17 miles of trail, 338 acres managed for motorized recreation, parking and access route improvements, a shade shelter, signage, erosion control, and tread repair.
53 Texas Motorized Trails Coalition Escondido Draw Recreation Area 2020 Project Crockett County $498,300.00 $398,600.00 Construction of approximately 4 miles of trail and renovation of approximately 50 miles of trail. Includes parking and access road resurfacing, OHV loading ramps, signage, an environmental resource survey, and engineering/professional services.
53 Texas Trails Education And Motorized Management Texas ATV/OHV Safety Education Program State-wide Medina County $162,200.00 $129,100.00 ATV/OHV safety education program providing OHV safety education.
52 Bridgeport Bridgeport Route 020001 - Adventure Course Wise County $98,000.00 $78,400.00 Construction of 1-2 miles of off-road obstacle course and 2-5 miles of trail renovation on existing motorized and non-motorized trails.
52 Houston Audubon Society Damuth Bird Sanctuary Trail System Liberty County $114,200.00 $80,900.00 Renovation of 3,000 feet of trail and construction of 900 feet of boardwalks.
52 Mission Parks and Recreation City of Mission Hike and Bike Trail Expansion Hidalgo County $342,300.00 $200,000.00 Renovation of 5.35-mile long by 10-foot wide asphalt multi-use trail with retaining wall, erosion controls, and trail signage.
51 Greenbelt Alliance of Denton County 2020 Denton Greenbelt Enhancements Denton County $151,400.00 $121,000.00 Renovation of 11 miles of equestrian/biking/hiking trail. Installation of mile markers, covered picnic tables, tie rails, horse watering station, and pavilion.
50 Texas Equestrian Trail Riders Association Benbrook Lake Rocky Creek Trail Improvement Project Tarrant County $64,000.00 $51,200.00 Construction of a 32-foot long by 6-foot wide raised walkway with an accessible ramp. Includes trailhead relocation (move 50 feet), water supply line infrastructure, and spigots.
48 El Paso County San Felipe Park OHV and Ascarate Park Recreation Trails El Paso County $600,000.00 $337,000.00

Site 1 - Acquisition of 62 acres for approximately 7 miles of OHV trails, signage and fencing.

Site 2 - New and renovated 3-mile long by 10-foot wide asphalt trails, concrete curb, and signage.

47 Brenham Crossover Nature Trail Washington County $90,500.00 $66,400.00 Construction of a new .59 mile by 6-foot wide granite surface nature trail with a boardwalk, benches, and interpretive signage.
45 Buffalo Bayou Partnership Japhet Creek Harris County $140,500.00 $112,400.00 Renovation of a 700-foot long by 8-foot wide decomposed granite nature trail and construction of a new 300-foot long nature trail. Includes benches, trash receptacles, and signage.
45 Ecology Action of Texas Roy G. Guerrero River Trail Network Travis County $156,900.00 $104,000.00 Construction of 9241 feet of new trail and renovation of 9603 feet of trail. Includes kiosks, signage, and accessibility/ADA improvements.
45 Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority Renovation of Canyon Lake Gorge North Rim Trail Comal County $250,000.00 $200,000.00 Renovation of .5-mile long by 10-foot wide walking trail with restroom, benches, and hydration station.
45 Turnback Canyon Trail Conservancy Turnback Canyon Trail Conservancy Phase II Travis County $108,200.00 $81,900.00 Construction of 1.5 miles of new hiking trails with trail bridges, benches, dog waste stations, and signage.
44 McMullen County Frio River Riverfront Trail McMullen County $267,600.00 $200,000.00 Construction of a new 1,000-foot trail, benches, picnic units, signage, and trailhead.
44 San Marcos River Foundation Purgatory Creek Public Trail Dunbar Park to Hunter Road Hays County $249,000.00 $198,900.00 Construction of a new 1-mile walking and biking trail.
44 Seabrook Open Space and Trails Committee Seabrook Armand Bayou – Galveston Bay Trail Link Harris County $170,800.00 $131,400.00 Construction of 7400 feet of new trail.
42 Austin Parks Foundation Little Walnut Creek Greenbelt Project Travis County $236,000.00 $142,400.00 Design and construction of new trailhead and construction of approximately 2 miles of natural surface trail. Includes kiosks, benches, trash receptacles, and signage.
42 South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center Improve Brennecke Nature Trail and Expand ADA Access to Oso Creek Ridge Nueces County $288,800.00 $199,800.00 Construction of approximately 4345 feet of new ADA-compliant trail with boardwalk, and the renovation of approximately 1340 feet of trail and boardwalk for ADA compliance. Includes signage, benches, trash receptacles.
41 Snyder Deep Creek Trail Design - a Partnership Between School and City Scurry County $177,800.00 $0.00 Construction of a new 3775-foot walking trail, an ADA-compliant ramp, benches, picnic tables, an awning, and pecan trees.
39 Del Rio 2020 City Of Del Rio Carranza Park Trail Renovation Val Verde County $250,000.00 $0.00 Renovation of existing 1,201-foot long by 10-foot wide multi-use asphalt trail. Includes ADA amenities, signage, solar lighting, bike rack, picnic tables, drinking fountains, trash receptacles, dog waste stations, benches, and pedestrian bridge.
39 Graham Firemen's Park Trail Improvements Young County $256,400.00 $0.00 Construction of approximately 7,030 feet of new walking trail and the renovation of approximately 225 feet of existing trail.
38 Mercedes Hike and Bike Trail to Estero Llano Grande State Park (Phase 1) Hidalgo County $421,300.00 $0.00 Construction of a new 2.35-mile by 10-foot wide asphalt or decomposed granite trail.
38 New Braunfels Sports Complex Trails Project Guadalupe County $250,000.00 $0.00 Construction of a new 3-mile long by 6-foot wide natural surface trail and .46-mile long by 10-foot wide concrete multi-use trail with benches, water fountain, pet waste station, bike repair station, bike racks, and signage.
37 Allen Cottonwood Trail Improvements Collin County $272,400.00 $0.00 Construction of a new 125-foot long by 14-foot wide pedestrian bridge.
37 Garden Ridge Parks Committee Paul Davis Park Recreational Trail Comal County $172,800.00 $0.00 Construction of a new .50-mile long by 8-foot wide multi-use concrete trail with trail-head and interpretative signage.
36 Three Rivers Kopplin Park Live Oak County $240,200.00 $0.00 Construction of a new .4-mile improved surface trail and renovation of .5 miles of nature trail to improve surface and enforce ADA compliance.
30 Lorena EDC Lorena Historic Trail McLennan County $125,000.00 $0.00 Construction of a new 1,975-foot long by 6-foot wide decomposed granite trail and signage.
29 Carthage Carthage City Trail - Phase II Panola County $321,500.00 $0.00 Construction of a new 5,510-foot long by 6-foot wide multi-purpose concrete trail with benches and interpretive signage.
27 Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy Willow Trail Harris County $250,000.00 $0.00 Construction of a new .3-mile long by 8-foot wide multi-use concrete trail with benches, signs, trash receptacles, bike racks, and trailhead.
26 Tyler Rose Rudman Recreational Trail Smith County $219,800.00 $0.00 Installation of benches, trash cans, and LED lighting.
20 Terranova West Municipal Utility District Villanova Detention Pond Trail Harris County $56,400.00 $0.00 Construction of a new 0.17-mile long by 5-foot wide stabilized crushed granite ADA-compliant walking trail with benches and a bridge.
19 Granbury Acton Middle School Outer Loop Trail Hood County $343,900.00 $0.00 Trail corridor acquisition and construction of a new 1,345-foot long by 8-foot wide concrete trail with crosswalk, curb cuts, grading, and signage.
19 Paso del Norte Community Foundation Paso del Norte Trail - Priority Segment - El Paso Zoo to Barcelona Drive El Paso County $213,800.00 $0.00 Construction of a new .87-mile long by 10-foot wide multi-use asphalt trail with trail signage.
19 The Trail Foundation Rainey Street Trailhead Travis County $1,603,900.00 $0.00 Construction of a new trailhead facility including nature play area, lawn, native trees and plants, bike racks, benches, and signage.
17 Choices Interlinking Alliance Outdoor Partners for Inclusion and Progress Rusk County $242,000.00 $0.00 Construction of a new 2000-foot long by 5-foot wide natural surface multi-use trail (hiking, bicycling, and equestrian) and low-water crossing improvement.
15 Elkhart City of Elkhart - Recreational Trail Construction Anderson County $400,000.00 $0.00 Construction of a new .56-mile long by 6-foot wide multi-use asphalt trail with park benches, signs, bike racks, parking area, lighting, and fencing.
11 Edinburg Ebony Hills Golf Course Trail Project Hidalgo County $239,700.00 $0.00 Construction of a new 2.5-mile long by 5-foot wide asphalt trail.
10 Roanoke Fairway Drive Trail Denton County $499,900.00 $0.00 Construction of a new 4,350-foot long by 10-foot wide concrete trail with retaining walls.
9 Heath Heathland Crossing Trail Rockwall County $245,400.00 $0.00 Construction of a new 1620-foot long by 10-foot wide concrete multi-use trail and renovation of 880-foot by 10-foot wide concrete multi-use trail with sidewalk demolition.

*Projects in bold indicate motorized request

Total Requests = $7,832,700

Total Recommended = $3,711,400