National Trails Award to Illinois:
The IDNR congratulates the Illinois Greenways and Trails Council for being selected by the National Association of State Park Directors as the winner of the Coalition for Recreational Trails Achievement Award for outstanding use of federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds. The award will be presented at a reception in Washington D.C. on June 5. The Illinois Greenways and Trails Council is Illinois official RTP State Trails Advisory Board. Council members include all major statewide trail user organizations, including biking, equestrian, hiking, OHV, snowmobiling, mountain biking, and paddling. Statewide associations representing local agencies that acquire, develop, and manage trails also serve on the Council. The Council helped develop Illinois RTP priorities, grant project eligibility criteria, and grant project evaluation criteria. The efforts of this statewide coordinating council and grass-roots planning have fostered a problem-solving, results-oriented approach to trails in Illinois. For more information please go to the Greenways and Trails Program
The Council's mission statement was adopted march 11, 1996. The mission is to: promote public awareness of the natural, recreational, environmental, water quality, cultural, transportation and economic benefits of greenways and trails; support the acquisition, development and maintenance of a statewide network of greenways and trails; serve as a forum to share information, bring user groups together, to encourage cooperation among user groups and to coordinate agencies' and organizations' actions; encourage the development of partnerships among the public and private sectors; support volunteerism to provide, protect, develop and maintain greenways and trails; and, advise the DNR on greenways and trails planning, policies and programs.
The Illinois Greenways and Trails Council was established by DNR in 1995 in response to recommendations made by Conservation Congress I and II. The council is composed of representatives of statewide greenways and trails constituent and user groups, statewide associations for agencies that provide greenways and trails, organizations with demonstrated expertise in greenway and trail planning, and metro-area greenway and trail coalitions. The council serves as Illinois' "State Trails Advisory Board," under the National Recreational Trails Fund Act, which authorizes the Recreational Trails Program (see below). The council receives support from the Greenways & Trails Program staff for meeting arrangements. Prior to legislation, the council met several times a year on the third Wednesday of the month. The meetings are open to the public. If you are interested in attending a meeting or learning more email the greenways and trails staff.
Recreational Trails Program
The DNR and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) co-administer the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The RTP is open to all levels of government and private organizations to receive RTP funds through an annual grant program. The RTP requires the funds to be divided among motorized trails (at least 30% of total project funding), non-motorized trails (at least 30% of total project funding), and diversified trails (up to 40% of total project funding). Diversified trails are trails that can accommodate both motorized and non-motorized use, or trails that can accommodate more than one type of motorized, or non-motorized, use. The Illinois Greenways and Trails Council serves as Illinois State Trails Advisory Board, as required by the Act. The Council advises DNR and IDOT regarding Program administration and develops priorities for projects funded under the Program.