Recreation & Trails


Improved access to Alaska’s recreational areas means less damage to streams, less erosion and a better recreational experience. Districts are working with a variety of partners to install or upgrade trails and bridges in recreational areas.

Caribou Lake Trail

Caribou Lake Trail is a 7.5-mile recreation and access trail completed by Homer SWCD in 2005. In 2006, the District constructed a one-acre trailhead for year-around legal access.

Trident Basin Trail Improvement

Some 44 Coast Guard volunteers worked with Kodiak SWCD to improve access, remove hazards, construct footbridges and lay down Geoblock to improve Trident Basin Trail and its access. Funding sources included the City of Kodiak.

Walking Track for Delta Elementary

Salcha-Delta SWCD was asked to help clear ground for a walking track around the new Delta Elementary School. Delta Industrial donated labor and equipment to clear the debris, and the school district provided gravel to make a clean, level walking track for the students, who can use it instead of crossing the street to use the high school running track. The project not only helped the 420 students, it also prompted new teachers to become involved in SWCD projects, like the AACD poster contest.

Scout Ridge Trail

In coordination with an Eagle Scout project, Wasilla SWCD and local students improved a trail to the new pavilion overlooking Palmer Hayflats constructed by an Eagle Scout. Some 450 feet of trail were improved and made wheelchair accessible. Partners included EPA, USFWS, Mat-Su School District, Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats, and Alaska Department of Fish & Game.

Wasilla Creek ATV Bridges

Palmer SWCD organized partners and volunteers to construct ATV bridges to protect salmon streams. Two bridges were installed in 2005. One was started in 2006; it and three others should be in place in 2007. Partners included Mat-Su Job Corps, RC&D, DEC, Chickaloon Village and Ya Ne Dah Ah School.

Lake Miam – Summit Lake Trail Improvement

Since 2002, Kodiak SWCD has partnered with US Fish & Wildlife Service to work toward solving erosion problems due to ATV and ORV use on Lake Miam Trail. The trail is regaining its original integrity, and negative impacts to fish and wildlife habitat have been reduced. Additional funding has been obtained to expand the project to the Summit Lake bypass. The new project will bypass the current trail along the lakeshore and create a new trail that ill allow vehicles to travel around the lake, eliminating erosion and fish habitat problems associated with trail use.

Caribou Hills Trail Assessments

Homer SWCD began a new project to develop a signage program to address concerns about ATV crossings within the Ninilchik and Deep Creek watersheds, with funding from DEC, Alaska State Parks and NRCS. The District also held meetings to raise public awareness of private-public land boundaries. Homer SWCD also worked with the National Park Service on GIS-based tools to objectively assess the condition of the trails within Caribou Hills. Partners in the projects include Native associations and trail user groups.

Talkeetna Lakes Park

Upper Susitna SWCD is working with the Denali Nordic Ski Club and Mat Su Borough to develop a trail system at Talkeetna Lakes Park, a Mat Su Borough Park located two miles from downtown Talkeetna. The first phase of development involved the design and construction of a 3-mile loop trail for hiking and biking use. Ski club volunteers designed the trail with assistance from IMBA and the National Park Service. The initial bench cut was made by a professional operator using mechanized equipment, and finish work was be completed in 2008 by the Upper Susitna Youth Conservation Corps and local volunteers. A ski trail is the next anticipated phase of development.

Talkeetna Elementary School Trail System

Upper Susitna SWCD was asked by staff from Talkeetna Elementary School to assist with improving the school trail system. Thanks to a generous grant from REI, district staff will be able to involve teachers, students, and the Upper Susitna Youth Conservation Corps in elevating soggy sections of trail, clearing vegetation, and planting trees to create a visual buffer alongside the trail in 2007 and 2008.

Byers Lake Trail

In 2007, the Upper Susitna Youth Conservation Corps worked with staff at Denali State Park to improve the Byers Lake Trail, a popular 5-mile loop hiking trail. Corps members replaced worn boardwalks, widened trails and improved drainage in soggy sections. The project, which is funded by a Recreational Trails Program grant from the state of Alaska, will continue in 2008.