Connecticut River, Near Maidstone, photo Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail.

Connecticut River, Near Maidstone, photo Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail.

The National Park Service announced that it will help more than 350 communities around the nation improve local parks, establish trails, access rivers, and protect special places through its Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program in 2014.

The NPS makes technical assistance grants to community groups, nonprofits, tribes and state and local governments. Local leaders collaborate with National Park Service staff and other partners to plan trails and parks, conserve and improve access to rivers and natural areas, and create other outdoor recreation opportunities. National Park Service staff provide free facilitation and planning expertise, help engage partners, develop plans and identify funding sources. These projects empower millions of people to get outside close to home.

Here in New England, some current water-related projects include:


The NPS is working with the Buzzards Bay Coalition to develop a regional vision for a new National Water Trail on Buzzards Bay in southeastern Massachusetts.


Royal River Water Trail: The NPS in conjunction with the Royal River Conservation Trust is working to enhance the Royal River Water Trail by planning, creating, and installing artwork along the waterway.

New Hampshire:

The NPS and the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail Project Partners (VT River Conservancy, St. Gaudens National Historical Park, Conte National Wildlife Refuge, Connecticut River National Blueway) are improving existing and potential river-access points, as well as community outreach, trail expansion and strategic planning.

Rhode Island:

The NPS and the Rhode Island Land and Water Partnership are working on the Tillinghast Pond Management Area Trail. The goal is to promote Rhode Island land and water trails through events, more interactive online presence and partnerships. NPS is assisting with a campaign to build knowledge and excitement around Rhode Island land and water trails; and help to expand the network of trails on


The NPS and the Naugatuck River Greenway Steering Committee are creating, extending, and promoting the completion of the Naugatuck River Greenway.

NPS is helping the steering committee define strategic roles, organize events, increase access to the river, promote connections to economic development, implement uniform signage and wayfinding, and design and construct 2.7 miles of new trail in Thomaston and Watertown.

If you have an idea for a local recreation or conservation project, the National Park Service can help you envision your community’s future. Applications for 2015 projects are due by August 1, 2014. Visit the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program or more information and to apply.

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