24 Projects Earn Grants Through Roanoke Outside Initiative

Since its creation, Project Outside has awarded $150,000 to 24 projects that benefit our outdoor community. From greenway repairs, machines and tools for trail work, installing a new river access ramp, development of outdoor programs for underserved youth, disc golf course improvements, and support for outdoor businesses impacted by the pandemic. Grant applications totaled more than $450,000 in funding requests.

“The outdoors is integral to region’s narrative and economic development strategy,” said Pete Eshelman, director of Roanoke Outside Foundation. “The goal of Project Outside is to invest in our community’s competitive advantage, the outdoors. Grants will be used to fund needed projects that will make an immediate impact in the community.”

Project Outside is a first of its kind campaign that funds the maintenance and development of outdoor assets and support outdoor-related businesses. The Roanoke Outside Foundation administers the grants that break down into three categories: Maintenance, new infrastructure, and organization support.

Grant recipients evaluated by the Roanoke Outside Foundation Advisory Council, which used a blind scorecard to allocate available funds to projects that demonstrated the highest and most immediate need and ability to be completed in a timely manner.

2022 Project Outside grant recipients:

  • Botetourt County Parks and Recreation: $7250 to expand and increase parking at the Alpine public access point on the James River in Buchanan.
  • Trees Roanoke: $1000 to remove dead and dying trees along the Roanoke River Greenway and replace with new ones.
  • Humble Hustle: $4699 to expand the Humble Hikes program and increase capacity by hiring part-time staff to continue offering monthly outdoor programming to underserved youth.
  • Blue Ridge Off-Road Cyclists: $5000 to conduct a regional trail maintenance workshop focused on ongoing maintenance needs at Explore Park while expanding the pool of qualified volunteers throughout the region.
  • Pathfinders for Greenways: $1700 to purchase tools needed for trail building and maintenance.
  • Total Action of Progress: $3563 to continue Project Discovery, an outdoor club to connect underserved youth with the outdoors.
  • Roanoke Mountain Adventures: $5250 to build a public mountain bike skills development facility along the Roanoke River Greenway in Vic Thomas Park.
  • Alleghany Highlands Trail Club: $7300 to rehabilitate 10 miles of North Mountain Trail.
  • Franklin County Parks and Recreation: $9238 to replace rotten boards on a bridge in Waid Park that spans the Pigg River.
  • Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club: $5000 to repair the McAfee Knob fire road, used as a secondary trail to/from McAfee Knob but also for rescues.

2021 Project Outside grant recipients:

  • Blue Ridge Off-Road Cyclists: $20,000 to purchase a walk-behind skid steer machine to be used on regional trail projects.
  • Roanoke County: $15,000 to match other funds and install a new Roanoke River access ramp at Wayside Park.
  • City of Roanoke: $15,000 to aid in repairs to the Roanoke River Greenway in Southeast between 13th Street and Piedmont Park.
  • Alleghany County Parks and Recreation: $9,744 to purchase a maintenance vehicle for the 14.4-mile-long, crushed gravel Jackson River Scenic Trail.
  • Humble Hustle: $9,000 for Project PARK (Peaceful Areas of Recreation for Kids), an initiative to improve Villa Heights Recreation Center.
  • Franklin County Parks and Recreation: $7,150 to build a new beginner/intermediate mountain bike flow trail in Waid Park.
  • Alleghany Highlands Trail Club: $5,750 to rehabilitate the 11-mile-long Fore Mountain Trail which is a key trail connector between Clifton Forge and Covington.
  • Catawba Sustainability Center: $4,200 for improvements to a trail being built that connects the center with the Appalachian Trail. This will provide an alternative parking location for people accessing the popular McAfee Knob.
  • Franklin County Parks and Recreation: $3,300 to purchase trail building and repair tools for a growing network of volunteers.
  • Total Action for Progress: $2,880 to start Project Discovery, an outdoor club to connect underserved youth with the outdoors.
  • River Rock Climbing: $2,120 to offset losses incurred by the pandemic. During their required shutdown they still paid employees.
  • Pathfinders for Greenways: $2,000 to purchase tools needed for trail building and maintenance.
  • Ride CFVA: $1,000 for marketing the startup business catering to mountain bike tourism in the region.
  • The Roanoke Disc Golf Club: $2,850 to improve the Explore Park’s Mayflower Disc Golf Course.

This is our time to invest in our community strength – the outdoors – to continue positioning the Roanoke Region as a preferred place to live, work, play, and visit. Contributions can still be made.