2020 Grantees

We are so grateful to our supporters, funders, and small donors, who made it possible for the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation to grant over $360,000 in 2020 to 24 organizations working to provide recreation access and outdoor opportunities in the Mat-Su.

Check out some of the incredible projects our community partners have been working on in 2020 with Rapid Response Grant Funding!

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation (MSTPF) has created a special grant opportunity to maintain and increase trail and park maintenance and projects. 

The expedited Rapid Response #ActiveMatSu Grant program is meant to support our community partners with grants of $5,000 to those who have been, and are currently facilitating and improving our access to outdoor recreation during the COVID-19 crisis. We have already approved 20 Rapid Response #ActiveMatSu Grants, totaling $100,000.

Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center installed avalanche awareness signage at Hatcher Pass 16-Mile Road Run
Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center 

Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center used Rapid Response Funding to design and install safety and avalanche awareness signs and provide avalanche reports for the popular 16 Mile Road Runs in Hatcher Pass. The 16 Mile Road Run is an extremely popular snowboarding and skiing area for the citizens of the Mat-Su Borough. With increased signage and reporting, the Mat-Su Borough’s most popular skiing and snowboarding area will be safer, and the community better informed.

Petersville Community Non-Profit

The Petersville Community Non-Profit used Rapid Response grant funding to purchase reflective trail markers to increase visibility and safety on groomed trails.

Meadow Lake Community Development volunteers on the Woodland Trail
Meadow Lakes Community Council

The Meadow Lakes Community Council will use Rapid Response grant funding to purchase a tractor/mower to maintain the Meadow Lakes Community Sports Field. This mower will be used to maintain 5 acres of lawn for little league baseball, soccer, and community use around the pavilion.

Great Land Trust

The Rapid Response grant funding was used for the Swan “Quggesh” Lake trail project to build and open new trail access, and install a trailhead sign and kiosk. The Swan “Quggesh” Lake trail has been used and enjoyed by many since the project was completed this summer.

Student Conservation Association

The Student Conservation Association used Rapid Response grant funding to employ field crews, after park partners had to cancel due to the pandemic. The 2020 AK Mat-Su and State Parks AmeriCorps Team consisted of young adults from Southcentral Alaska serving on hiking and biking trails throughout Chugach State Park and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. The season started by reconstructing a section of puncheon that had fallen into a swamp through technical and teambuilding problem solving. In Settler’s Bay and Government Peak Recreation Area the crew focused on mountain bike trail tread work, successfully meeting the agency partner’s goals through motivated and determined crew members.

Alaska Trail Stewards event in Hatcher Pass State park. Photo from Alaska Trails.
Alaska Trails 

The Rapid Response grant funding has helped Alaska Trails assist others to improve trails and their usability. Funds have been used to deploy trail crew in Mat-Su Borough, and to employ a contract brusher at Skeetawk in Hatcher Pass. Alaska Trails hope that trails will continue to be a safe way for Alaskans to improve both their physical and mental health during the COVID crisis.

Families for the Improvement of Safety and Health

The Rapid Response grant funds were used to continue our neighborhood rehabilitation project which included beautification and trash removal. Families or the Improvement of Safety and Health was able to move 50.13 tons of garbage in roadways and private properties located around our neighborhood park.

Mountaineering Club of Alaska volunteer making emergency repairs to the Bomber Hut, which was damaged by bear activity over the summer
Mountaineering Club of Alaska

The Mountaineering Club of Alaska used Rapid Response grant funds to repair damage that occurred from bear activity at the MCA Bomber hut this summer. MCA huts, like the Bomber hut, provide refuge for recreation in a time when people need it most.

Onward and Upward, Inc.

In partnership with the Chuqilintnu Cultural Education Coalition, Onward & Upward used Rapid Response grant funding to develop educational Dena’ina interpretive initiatives, and coordinate the development of a new parking lot for community access at the Palmer Hay Flats Swan Lake Trail. Funding generously provided to Onward & Upward by the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation through the Covid-19 Response Grant program has created opportunities for the Chuqilintnu Cultural Education Coalition to better provide cultural education programs and access for Machetanz Elementary School students, Onward & Upward Health and Wellness Classes, and the general public/Mat-Su residents to provide recreational access and learning opportunities during Covid-19.

Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats

Rapid Response grant funding was used for Field assessment and maintenance on Reflections Lake Wetland Spur Trail. Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats engaged community volunteers, conducted planning for trails repair, and cleared an overgrown section of trail. The trail is much more usable, and surround lands better protected from erosion.



Other Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation Grants in 2020 

Alaska State Parks – Chicken Lake Trail Maintenance

Clear hazard trees, brush extensive overgrown vegetation, and improve the trailhead on a trail located in Nancy Lakes SRA.

Mat-Su Borough – Jay Nolfi Park Dock Replacement

Replace fish-viewing platform. Build hardened surface leading from the parking lot to the platform.

Wes Hoskins, Executive Director of  Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation receiving a plaque from Mark Stigar of Mat-Su Search and Rescue in recognition of the grant funding used to purchase a camper shell to improve search and rescue operations in the Mat-Su.
Mat-Su Search and Rescue – Camper Shell

Provides funding for Mat-SAR to purchase a new Cache Camper for their command truck. This will enable a place for responders to get out of the elements and recover during long incidents in bad weather.

Student Conservation Association – MSB Trail Crew

Provide five weeks of maintenance on MSB trails, focusing on Mat River Park and Settler’s Bay

Denali Nordic Ski Club – Snow Machine

This funding helped DNSC get over the hump to buy an $18k snow grooming machine. This will provide significant help to an organization in Talkeetna helping to groom the hundreds of miles of ski trails found there. Including the popular Oosik ski race.

Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers – Monkshood Descender

This will add to the growing singletrack system in GPRA. The new loop will be inside an existing loop creating more opportunities for laps. Also, will provide funds to rebuild lower part of old Government peak race trail.

Mat-Su Borough – West Butte Trail

Will provide new handrails for hiker safety along with a third strand of wire in existing railing for resource protection. Also, new fencing to help stop switchback cutting. This project was funded by Usibelli Mine.

Alaska Trails – Trail Crew 2020

This application provides time for a paid trail crew to work a couple weeks on Borough and state lands. Also would pay for some volunteer projects most likely in 2021.

Mat-Su Borough – Nelson Parkway Path Planning

This funding will help begin the construction of a separated pathway connecting Machentanz Elementary with the neighborhood to the east. Currently families have to walk in the street in this fast-developing community.

Summertime view of the new chairlifts at Skeetawk, in Hatcher Pass. Open winter 2020!
Hatcher Alpine Experience – Summer Trails Plan

This funds a trails contractor to design a system of summer bike trails on Skeetawk’s leased property. The trails will connect to the 16 mile to GPRA traverse once that trail is built.

Willow Area Community Organization – Bike Park Plan

WACO continues to build out the Newman Park area which already boasts a ski/walk trail, an event pavilion, dog park, and connectivity to the local ski, walk, mush trails. This planning grant will provide WACO with funding to develop a progressive skills bike park. This will be needed infrastructure in a community where outdoor recreation opportunities are limited.

Petersville Community Non-Profit – Piston Bully 400
  • The Petersville Community Non Profit Corp., with grant funding from the Alaska Community Foundation and Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation, purchased a new Piston Bully 400, with a separated cab to assist with EMS and SAR in the community. The Piston Bully will also be used, with their Snowcat purchased in 2019 with Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation grant funding, to groom around 200 miles of trails in the Petersville area.
With your support, the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation has funded more trail and park projects in 2020 than ever before! If you’re able, consider donating today to give your favorite trails and parks even more love in 2021!
Pick. Click. Give.


While applying for their PFD online, Alaskans can choose to Pick.Click.Give. in increments of $25. All donations are tax deductible and donors will receive tax documentation from the State once their donations have been processed. Permanent Fund Dividend applications are available from January 1 to March 31, though Alaskans may choose to add or adjust their pledges online through August 31.

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Grants and Event Sponsorships

The Mat-Su Trails & Parks Foundation partners with organizations and local governments on projects and efforts that expand and enhance the valley’s network of trails and parks. Find out how we can help fund your next trail, park, or recreation project!

Trail Maintenance