The Baker-Polito administration announced in late August more than $3.9 million in grants to fund design, construction and maintenance projects for 75 trails across 60 communities.

The grants can be used for improvements to long-distance trails, rail trail development, ATV trail maintenance, and the creation and maintenance of municipally owned trails, among other initiatives. Grant recipients must match at least 20 percent of the total grant with funding or in-kind services for the project.

The awards range from $2,494 to purchase new mowing equipment for the 2.4 mile-long Methuen Rail Trail, to $200,000 for the completion of the Skyline Trail in Pittsfield.

Funding for the grants comes from state capital funds and the federal Recreational Trails Program. The federal dollars come from the motor fuel excise tax on off-road vehicles, including ATVs and snowmobiles, and are provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Surface Transportation Act, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Grant applications were reviewed by the independent, volunteer Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board appointed by the commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

In June 2017, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a 60 percent increase in the budget for the state’s Recreational Trails Program, as part of a commitment to expand and connect trail networks across Massachusetts. At that time, the administration also established a Trails Initiative and Trails Team that includes staff from the DCR, MassDOT, and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs that partners with communities interested in trail projects.

The administration has focused on trail projects because they enhance recreational opportunities, increase home property values, and provide alternative transportation modes, among other benefits.