Important dates

Program applications are currently open for 2024. The deadline to submit your completed application and project proposal is 11:59 pm on January 7, 2024.

Overview

Alberta’s Public Land Trails Grant Program was established in 2022 to enhance recreation management on designated public land trails on provincial Crown land (with the exception of land within provincial parks, wildland provincial parks and ecological reserves) by providing funding opportunities for recreation partners.

Crown land refers to land in Alberta that is under the administration of the Minister of Forestry and Parks, and is regulated by the Public Lands Administration Regulation (PLAR). Provincial Crown land excludes federal, municipal and private land.

These partnerships are important for sustainable trail management systems on public land.

Alberta’s Public Land Trails Grant Program:

  • enhances existing recreation opportunities
  • develops safe and sustainable recreational experiences and trail systems
  • operationalizes a new approach to managing recreation on public land
  • furthers the Alberta Crown Land Vision
  • develops partner expertise and capacity

Providing funding to recreation organizations helps support local trail maintenance, improve user safety, promote healthy lifestyles, build ecological knowledge and contribute to local tourism.

Funding priorities

All projects that receive funding through Alberta’s Public Land Trails Grant Program must demonstrate clear and measurable benefits to sustainable recreation in Alberta.

Priorities for short-term projects

  • Increasing the ability of partner organizations to support government in achieving recreation outcomes in alignment with the Trails Act.
  • Development, improvement and maintenance of recreation infrastructure, services and amenities such as trails, camping areas and staging areas.
  • Supporting sustainable recreation, responsible use and protection of the environment.
  • Promotion of recreation through education and outreach.

Eligibility

  • Applicants

    Program applicants must be legal entities with appropriate experience, capacity and competency to deliver sustainable recreation program on public land, such as:

    • designated Trail Managers
    • volunteer recreational groups
    • non-governmental organizations
    • municipalities
    • Indigenous communities and organizations
    • any other group registered under the provincial Societies Act

    Prioritization of grant funding will be given to:

    • current trail managers under the Trails Act
    • partners that are proven and have ready-to-deliver projects
    • organizations leveraging other sources of funding
    • provincially designated trails where a trail management plan exists or is pending

    Individuals are not eligible to receive funding under Alberta’s Public Land Trails Grant Program but are encouraged to participate and contribute to projects with eligible partners.

  • Projects

    Projects eligible for funding must meet the following program outcomes:

    • maintenance/repairs of existing infrastructure (for example, trails, staging areas, camping areas, signage)
    • monitoring/maintenance of recreational use and services (for example, inspections, cleaning, servicing)
    • site rehabilitation and reclamation, addressing safety and/or environmental issues
    • increasing operational capacity through engagement, planning and/or administrative activities

    Grant funding is only available for projects that occur on public land.

    Applications may include projects for one individual site/trail or multiple sites/trails within a recreation unit under the same project plan. Improvements on non-motorized trails are a priority for program funding. Applications that demonstrate how other sources of funding are being leveraged, and how lead organizations have a proven track record for project delivery, will be prioritized.

  • Project costs

    Eligible project costs include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • salaries and benefits directly tied to staff hired for the proposed activity
    • travel-related expenses
    • operating expenses related to the project
    • goods and services to promote and deliver eligible activities
    • technical consulting and professional services
    • education, communication and outreach activities and products
    • monitoring and ongoing inspections within the proposed term

    Prior to completing and applying for consideration, applicants are encouraged to confirm by email well in advance of the application deadline the eligibility of projects which are not listed above.

  • Ineligible projects and project costs

    Multi-year projects, and projects that do not directly support the program priorities and outcomes or do not align with public land use and values will not be considered for funding under the program.

    Project costs not eligible for funding include:

    • construction of new facilities, infrastructure and trails
    • activities not directly supporting outdoor recreation on public land
    • establishing or contributing to a reserve/contingency account
    • donations to other organizations
    • refundable Goods and Services Tax (GST) payments
    • Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) payments
    • salary and benefits of existing staff that are funded by other sources
    • expenses incurred outside of the project term

How to apply

  • Step 1. Download and review the application materials

  • Step 2. Contact staff for application requirements

    During this contact, you will have an opportunity to ask questions and will receive a grant application resource guide to help complete your application.

    If your proposed project is in Northern Alberta (North of Highway 16), contact:

    Dave Hugelschaffer, Manager, Recreation, Education and Partnerships
    Phone: 780-712-1910
    Email: [email protected]

    If your proposed project is in Southern Alberta (South of Highway 16), contact:

    Brad Jones, Manager, Recreation, Education and Partnerships
    Phone: 403-355-4854
    Email: [email protected]

  • Step 3. Complete application and project proposal

    This includes a:

    • description of the project’s objectives, measurable outcomes, rationale, methodology and process for completing the work
    • project work plan or timeline, including milestone dates
    • description of project partners and their role in the project, including any letters of support
    • stakeholder and public communication plan, including recognition of the Government of Alberta’s contribution to the project
    • map or aerial photos clearly delineating project location(s)
    • scoping of any regulatory requirements and approvals that may influence proposal timelines
    • detailed project financial plan including a description of proposed expenses and expenses funded by alternative sources
  • Step 4. Submit your application package

    Submit the application, project proposal and any supporting information by email to [email protected].

After you apply

Eligible applications will be reviewed based on program objectives, funding priorities and Government of Alberta priorities. Not all applications that meet the established review criteria will be approved for funding.

Project selection criteria

The following criteria will be considered during the selection of eligible projects. These criteria, as well as their relative weighting, are subject to change and should only be considered guidance to applicants.

  • Primary considerations

    • Project supports or enhances sustainable recreation opportunities, including public safety, for Albertans on public land.
    • Project enhances environmentally responsible use of public land through sustainable recreation.
  • Additional considerations

    • Cost and benefit: Proposals must provide good value for money and must justify the costs of the project in relation to benefits for Albertans.
    • Cost sharing: Proposals should strive to leverage funding or benefits from other sources.
    • Sustainability and maintenance: Proposals should have a lasting impact on the recreation network, including any maintenance plans beyond the initial project phase.
    • Reach and scale: Proposals that have a positive impact on a broad section of recreation stakeholders are favoured over those affecting a single user group.
    • Collaboration and partnership: Proposals should engage in partnerships and collaborate with multiple stakeholders within the landscape. The level of community support for the proposed project will be taken into consideration.
    • Planning and project management: Proposals that clearly align with Alberta’s recreation management plans and programs (for example, regulatory, planning) will be a priority.
  • Notification of funding decision

    Applicants will receive written notification of the decision regarding their application within 60 days of the application deadline. If your project is approved, you will work with the Program Coordinator to enter into a grant agreement prior to March 31. The agreement will outline expected timelines, budget, deliverables and conditions.

Funding recipients

If the grant is approved in whole or in part, the applicant agrees:

  • To enter into an agreement with the Government of Alberta to meet all requirements.
  • To recognize the contribution of Government of Alberta funding.
  • The grant shall be used only for the purposes for which the grant application was approved.
  • If the original application has been varied by the minister, the grant will be used only for those varied purposes.

Grant recipients will be expected to complete regular reports throughout the duration of their project.

The receipt of any grant disbursements is conditional upon the following requirements being met at the end of the grant cycle:

  • Financial Statements for the past fiscal year (April 01 to March 31).
  • Proposed Budget vs. Actual Comparison noting the budget expenditures made directly from the grant.
  • Business plan review including a description of outcome of the program including how goals and objectives were met.
  • Samples of any Government of Alberta recognition.

Only applicants that meet the reporting requirements will be considered for future funding.

Contact

For questions about Alberta’s Public Land Trails Grant Program or to submit your application package, email [email protected].

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