The grant to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will fund equipment for trail work on Forever Wild properties. Forever Wild is a public program established to acquire property in Alabama for recreational use, wildlife management and preservation.
“Recreational trails invite Alabamians to come outdoors, enjoy the natural wonders of our state and take part in a healthy activity,” Bentley said. “The trails developed and maintained by this grant are an investment that boosts tourism, strengthens our economy and benefits Alabama residents throughout the state.”
The grant will provide specialized equipment to enable the construction of better quality trails and improve maintenance of existing paths.
Since its creation in 1992, Forever Wild has purchased 91 tracts of land, totaling 227,573 acres. Conservation’s State Lands Division manages the program and has built about 70 miles of trails, half dedicated for hiking and the other half for horseback riding. More than 100 additional miles, including at least one trail dedicated for mountain biking, are under construction or planned.
The Recreational Trails Grant Program funds projects for walking and hiking, bicycling, boating and paddling, horseback riding and other trails. Local governments and non-profit groups are awarded grants administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and are required to supply local support equal to at least 20 percent of the grant. Funds for the program are allocated to Alabama by the Federal Highway Administration.
ADECA administers a wide range of programs including law enforcement, economic development, recreation, energy and water resources.