Apply for a National Trails Fund Grant

(Image: American Hiking Society)

The application process for the American Hiking Society's 2011 National Trails Fund is open now through December 15, 2010.

Created in 1998, the National Trails Fund is the only privately supported national grants program providing funding to grassroots organizations working toward establishing, protecting, and maintaining foot trails in America.

Many of our favorite trails need major repairs due to an enormous backlog of badly needed maintenance. National Trails Fund grants help give local organizations the resources they need to secure access, volunteers, tools, and materials to protect America's cherished hiking trails.

Application: Download the forms.

Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Send all application materials to Heather Sable at

Deadline: All applications and supplementary materials must be received by December 15, 2010, at 11:59 p.m.  Applications will not be accepted after this date. 

 All National Trails Fund applicants are required to be members of the Alliance of Hiking Organizations. Learn more or join the alliance.


What is the National Trails Fund?

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Fund is the only privately funded, national grants program dedicated solely to building and protecting hiking trails. Now in its eighth year, the fund has awarded nearly $487,000 to 157 grassroots organizations all over the nation working to establish, protect and maintain foot trails in America. Awards range from $500 to $5,000 per project.


What types of projects will be considered for the 2011 grants?

  • Those that have hikers as the primary constituency, though projects on multi-use trails are eligible.
  • Those that secure trail lands, including acquisition of trails and trail corridors and the costs associated with acquiring conservation easements.
  • Projects that will result in visible and substantial ease of access, improved hiker safety and/or avoidance of environmental damage. Higher preference is often given to projects with volunteer labor.
  • Projects that promote constituency building surrounding specific trail projects - including volunteer recruitment and support.


    Funding details and grant accountability

    • Award amounts range from $500 to $5,000.
    • Applicants must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and must submit their IRS designation letters. If you are not a 501(c)(3), you may partner with a nonprofit to submit an application.
    • Except for land acquisition programs, acceptable projects should be completed in one year. Multi-year projects will be considered only in exceptional cases.

    Read more about the NTF guidelines.


    2010 National Trails Fund Winners

    To date, American Hiking has granted nearly $487,500 to 157 different trail projects across the U.S. for land acquisition, constituency building campaigns, and a variety of trail work projects. Awards typically range from $500 to $5,000 per project.

    • Gray Community Endowment (ME)
    • The Progress Center (ME)
    • Friends of Thorn Creek Woods (IL)
    • Selway Bitteroot Foundation (MO) *Galen Rowell Fund
    • Tahoe Rim Trail (NV)
    • Mohican Trails Club (OH)
    • Truckee Trails Foundation (CA)
    • Frear Park Conservancy (NY)
    • Gwinnett Parks Foundation (GA)
    • San Diego River Park Foundation (CA)


    For past winners and project descriptions, please click here.


    American Hiking Society

    Filed under: People & Organizations


    244 reviewer rep
    5,245 forum posts
    November 22, 2010 at 2:21 p.m. (EST)

    Does anyone know where I might apply for trail crew work?

    848 reviewer rep
    3,899 forum posts
    November 23, 2010 at 11:47 a.m. (EST)

    Does anyone know where I might apply for trail crew work?

    If you want to work in a national park, you can look on

    It might help to identify where or with what group you'd like to work, and then find out where they list their positions and how they fill them.

    For example, an organization may pull its workers from previous volunteers or use a youth conservation corps to get trail work done.

    Knowing their employment channels would be a big help.

    244 reviewer rep
    5,245 forum posts
    November 23, 2010 at 12:49 p.m. (EST)

    I often use for the parks.

    This post has been locked and is not accepting new comments