Two years ago, the University of New Orleans Transportation Institute created a statewide plan to guide the Louisiana Recreational Trails Program (LRTP) on ways to encourage trail use. Now the institute has been awarded a grant to help implement that plan.
The state trails plan, created in 2020 by UNOTI, provides a variety of goals intended to guide the actions of the LRTP, its advisory committee, and all agencies and organizations involved in the planning, development, construction, operation, maintenance and programming of current and future Louisiana trails, said UNO Transportation Institute researcher Tara Tolford.
The new two-year, nearly $60,000 grant from the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism will be used to help move that plan to fruition, Tolford said.
UNOTI will help gather additional research, data, and outreach needed to inventory, describe and map Louisiana trails across the state, Tolford said.
The next phase also will identify designated local trails liaisons for all 64 parishes in the state, and in coordination with the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, develop and publish an interactive online statewide trails map that will be integrated with the state’s Land and Water Conservation Fund program for outdoor recreation sites.
The trails program is a national initiative that help states provide and maintain recreational trails and trails-related facilities. The trails include motorized and non-motorized recreational uses, such as hiking, running, horseback riding and ATV riding.
Louisiana has received $1.5 million from the federal government annually since 2009 to support its recreational trails program.