Alaska Trail Stewards event in Hatcher Pass State park.
Steve Cleary, Executive Director of Alaska Trails
Alaska Trails’ mission is: Building Partnerships, Building Trails and we are excited to be entering our 17th year of striving for more and better trails in Alaska. The Alaska Trail Stewards program helps land managers accomplish need maintenance and trail building project by connecting trained volunteers to critical trail projects. The Alaska Trails Initiative is highlighting the economic and health benefits of trails in an effort to raise the profile and importance trails have in our state so that more funding will create more trail connections and more economic opportunity in more communities across the state.
Alaska Trails is grateful for the support from the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation grantmaking program because it has enabled us to work on many important trail projects in the valley. The Mat-Su has over 2,000 miles of trails, requiring a vast amount of work to keep them maintained. Through funding from the MSTPF, Alaska Trails has worked with both the Mat-Su Borough and Alaska State Parks on a variety of trail projects in the area. In addition, Alaska Trails is helping connect different groups in the area to collaborate on aspects like Crew Leader Trainings that will be a benefit to all the trail groups, but are generally something that each group could not afford on their own. Alaska Trails is inspired by the beauty of the trails in the Mat-Su and the passion of the trail advocates there. We hope to continue to help maintain trails and build organizational capacity with the help of the MSTPF.
Finding the right time for trail projects can often be difficult. Land managers are busy and coordinating volunteers can also prove challenging. Often trail staff schedules events toward the end of their busy summer season. That happened with one of our Alaska Trail Stewards events in September of 2018 in Hatcher Pass State park. Snow began to fall on the Friday before a Saturday event and we all huddled to decide whether to cancel or press on. The right decision was made to continue and a fired-up and bundled-up crew made the most of the snowy day to get the job done. Trail stewards who invest the time to build and maintain the trails they love are not only making contributions to those individual trails, but they are also becoming advocates for trails and trail funding statewide.
Alaska Trails is excited about the future of trails in Alaska. We are proud to be leading the effort to put together the Alaska Long Trail. This ambitious efforts seeks to stitch together many of the trails that exist in southcentral AK, as well as many new ones, to connect trail users from Seward to Fairbanks. We believe that this will be a great benefit to Alaskans and another reason for visitors to come and enjoy the Greatland. This effort underscores the importance of the partnerships that are core to our mission and the basis for our success. Working together with regional partners and trail advocates, we will continue to build and maintain trails that give us so much joy, health and economic opportunity.
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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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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!