PITTSFIELD -- Pittsfield and three towns in the county have received grant funding under the state’s Recreational Trails Grant Program, which this year provided $1,023,284 for 32 projects statewide.
Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner John P. Murray announced the awards this week in Lynn, which received the largest grant, $116,202, toward the Bike to the Sea multi-use trail through four towns to reach beaches in Lynn and Nahant.
The grants have been awarded to communities and nonprofit organizations in the state since 1993, and more than $10 million has been awarded to nearly 500 projects, the department said in a press release.
A local match is provided for the grant projects, either in cash or in-kind labor and donations.
In Pittsfield, the grant award is $33,108, with a local match of $5,525. The funding will provide equipment and materials to rehabilitate several sections of the Off Highway Vehicle Trail system in Pittsfield State Forest, which was damaged during a series of severe storms.
The equipment also will also allow park rangers to conduct routine patrols and maintain the trail system.
The town of Becket and the Appalachian Mountain Club received a $25,680 grant. With a local match of $49,920, the project will rehabilitate the trail system in the Becket Land Trust’s Historic Quarry and Forest system. Volunteers and the Berkshire Teen Trail Crew will perform maintenance and upgrade trails.
The town of Florida and Florida Mountain Snowmobile Club received $32,000, with a match of $8,000. The project will maintain trails in Florida, Savoy and Monroe state forests and includes the purchase of a grooming machine.
Savoy and the Savoy Kanary Kats Snowmobile Club received $20,383 with a match of $11,870. The project includes the purchase of a track-mounted brush mower for trail maintenance in Hawley, Savoy, Windsor, and Plainfield state forests, and the installation of access gates to deter illegal dumping of trash and protect winter-use trails from damage from off-road vehicles during the off-season.
Recreational Trails Grants are awarded for the construction and stewardship of hiking trails, bikeways, snowmobile trails, and an array of other trails throughout the commonwealth. This can include improvements to long-distance trails and rail trail development, ATV trail maintenance, and creation or maintenance of municipal trails. Each recipient matches the grant with a minimum additional 20 percent in funding or in-kind services.
Recreational Trails Program funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from non-highway recreational fuel use. The funds are distributed to individual states.