March 7, 2016 – A bill in front of the Utah Legislature will provide a one-time funding allocation of $5 million, some of which can be used to fund trails and trail infrastructure. The bill establishes the Outdoor Recreational Infrastructure Grant Program, a program designed to promote ‘low-cost’ access to the outdoors to all of the state’s citizens.
The bill funds the grant program through the Governor’s Office of Outdoor Recreation. Grants can be for outdoor recreational facilities such as bird watching infrastructure, winter recreation amenities and trails, “Recreational infrastructure project” may include the:
55 (i) establishment, construction, or renovation of a trail, trail infrastructure, or trail
So far, it has been overwhelmingly supported, with votes of 73-0 in the House and 25-0 in the Senate. House Bill 52 has so far passed the Utah House of Representatives, and is set to pass the Utah Senate, where it will soon go through its 3rd Reading (necessary to become law).
The Waypoint Grant Program was established this past year as a pilot. The new funding would extend this with 12.5 times the amount of funding of the pilot program.
The new grant program would be as follows,
Creation and purpose of infrastructure grant program.
127 (1) There is created the Outdoor Recreational Infrastructure Grant Program
128 administered by the outdoor recreation office.
129 (2) The outdoor recreation office may seek to accomplish the following objectives in
130 administering the infrastructure grant program:
131 (a) build, maintain, and promote recreational infrastructure to provide greater access to
132 low-cost outdoor recreation for the state’s citizens;
133 (b) encourage residents and nonresidents of the state to take advantage of the beauty of
134 Utah’s outdoors;
135 (c) encourage individuals and businesses to relocate to the state;
136 (d) promote outdoor exercise; and
137 (e) provide outdoor recreational opportunities to an underserved or underprivileged
138 community in the state.