Youth Conservation/Service Corps and Community Outreach


Anchorage Hillside Singletrack Trail System - Alaska

Trail building machines at work on the trail

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.

Youth service corps crews on the job

Youth service corps crews on the job

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.

More winners of this award

2023: Statewide Conservation Trails Crew

2021: Evans Creek ORV Area

2020: Monadnock Trail Improvement Project

2019: Lassen Peak Trail

2018: Pole Mountain Trails - Wyoming

2017: Arizona Conservation Corps Mogollon Rim Ancestral Lands Trail Crew - Arizona

2016: Rock Creek Park Bridge Project - District of Columbia

2016: Utah Conservation Corps Bike Crew - Utah

2015: Iowa DNR Americorps Trail Crew - Iowa

2014: Alaska Trails Mobile Tool Trailers

2013: Leicester Hollow Loop Trail - Vermont

2012: Mount Yale Trail Realignment - Colorado

2010: Hyde Park Heritage Greenway - New York

2009: North Bend Lake Equestrian Trail - West Virginia

2007: Continental Divide Trail Alliance Youth Corps

2006: Swallow Falls Trails and Muddy Creek Falls Overlook - Maryland

2005: Superior Hiking Trail - Minnesota

2004: North Fork I and II Trail Projects - Oregon

2003: North Fork Boise River Trail Rehabilitation - Idaho