Anchorage’s first system of soft-surface, narrow trails built for mountain bikes and foot traffic.
In 2009, a trail ribbon cutting was celebrated for Anchorage’s first system of soft-surface, narrow trails sustainably built for mountain bikes and foot traffic. Seven and a half miles of singletrack trails were planned, designed, and constructed in the city’s Far North Bicentennial Park, thanks to the outstanding efforts of Singletrack Advocates and Alaska Trails, the lead proponents for the project. These two organizations worked together to secure all funding, manage all phases, hire professional contractors, and supervise every aspect of trail planning, design, and construction.
To fund trail design and construction, a Recreational Trails Program grant of $50,000 was awarded and an additional $129,000 was provided by other granting agencies. Volunteer hours and local government and private donations from generous individuals and organizations brought in nearly an additional $100,000. The National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program provided technical expertise for planning, permitting, and construction oversight. Numerous community members donated over 600 hours of volunteer time on the project.
Youth crews from the Municipality of Anchorage’s Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) Program and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) were utilized for hand labor and finish work on the trails. To be sure the trails were built to a professional standard and that the youth obtained the proper training necessary to do a safe and professional job, Alaska Trails, the statewide trails nonprofit, trained the YEP Crew.
SCA sent a top-notch, well-trained and experienced crew and Singletrack Advocates did an amazing job of coordinating both youth trail crews. Those crews helped complete nearly eight miles of hand-tool finish work on Anchorage’s hillside. The finish work by both youth crews was outstanding.
As a result of this effort, a system of singletrack mountain bike trails is now in place that meets national sustainability standards, with loops and other features to take advantage of the natural landscape and provide variation to trail users. Today, the new trail system is popular not only with mountain bikers, but also with cross-country skiers, snowshoers, dog-walkers, runners, and hikers of all ages. The youth crews from Anchorage’s Youth Employment in Parks and the Student Conservation Association were given a wonderful opportunity to make a real difference on the ground and in their lives.