Now entering its ninth successful year, the multi-faceted Active Trails program is an enrichment program that strengthens national parks, strengthens relations between parks and community members and organizations, and supports individual growth and well-being. Through the Active Trails program community members of all ages get out and active on the trails – whether hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, doing Zumba or yoga on historic battlefields, or volunteering to help improve existing trails or build new ones. By connecting people to one another and to outdoor experiences in national parks, Active Trails provides engaging and diverse recreational, educational, and service opportunities to local community members and visitors alike.
Traditional Youth Conservation Corps projects are NOT a focus of this grant.
- Applications must be submitted by a National Park Service staff person, and programs can be operated by Friends Group or other NPS approved partner.
- Applications are due Friday, October 21, 2016 and the application with instructions for submission can be found here.
- An information call will be held on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 3:00pm eastern time (see RFP for details)
At this time there is no new call for projects. The approaching 2016 NPS Centennial has provided a catalyst for NPS leadership, NPF and Friends Groups to assess what the highest priority needs are for the coming years and to determine where philanthropic support can best assist. Centennial priority projects have been identified, and these will be the focus of all NPF fundraising efforts moving forward. As a result of this transition to a new method of delivering impact, NPF will be moving away from the traditional “RFP” model for funding projects and programs.
The process of creating a list of Centennial projects started with parks and programs identifying critical projects within the major focus areas of “Protect,” “Connect” and “Inspire.” Those projects were then filtered through Regional and Partnership Offices, Associate Directors, the Director’s Office, as well as, the NPF Board and Development team, and when involved, a Friend’s Group. An estimated 450 projects comprise the “Centennial Project” list, which is meant to be a dynamic list that remains “evergreen” and repopulated as projects are funded.
Some of the Centennial projects that are initially being presented to donors are park-specific such as restoring coastal dunes at Point Reyes, or restoring 120 acres of a battlefield at Manassas. Some projects are also being fundraised for by Friends Groups such as restoring trails at Jenny Lake, Grand Teton, or recovering two amphibian species at Yosemite. Others projects are national in scope such as Junior Ranger, Youth Conservation Corps, Digital Park Maps, or Trail to Every Classroom. As donor support is secured for projects such as Ticket to Ride or Wellness Ambassadors, there will be an opportunity for individual parks to intersect with those projects. Guidance on these opportunities will be distributed once donor support is secured.
The conduits for the Centennial projects are the regional offices, Centennial coordinators and WASO Centennial and Partnership offices. You can find the list of those contacts here.
If a park (or park in collaboration with its Friends Group) has a project of significance they would like considered as a Centennial project, the park can forward it to the appropriate Centennial contact(s) for inclusion on the master “Protect-Connect-Inspire” project list.
Criteria for projects is outlined below:
- Big Idea: is it a big idea? Does it create a margin of excellence?
- Fundable: does it have or could it attract major philanthropic support?
- Would you undertake this project on your own initiative, outside of a national campaign?
- Impact: will the project, as defined, with the investment being sought, and the identified target audience, have the desired outcomes?
- Urgent: is it timely, current, and imperative now in order to establish a base for success with the next century of parks?
- Scalable: is the project or program scalable? Will it stand the test of time and therefore be worthy of inclusion in a national campaign?