Legacy Trails Program Awardee

 

Shrode Lake Trail

The Prince William Sound Stewardship Foundation will work in partnership with the Chugach National Forest to restore the Shrode Lake Trail and associated spurs, improving safe access to a popular national forest recreation area. The Shrode Lake Trail is among the most popular national forest system trails in the Wilderness Study Area of western Prince William Sound. It stretches approximately three miles from Three Finger Cove (Cochrane Bay) to Long Bay (Culross Passage), providing a rare connector route between two distinct PWS waterways. It provides access to Shrode Lake, Shrode Creek, and the Forest Service’s Shrode Lake public use cabin.


Applicant: Prince William Sound Stewardship Foundation
Project Location: Glacier Ranger District, Chugach National Forest, Alaska
Amount Awarded: $15,400.00

Within only 400 feet of elevation gain, the trail passes through ancient spruce-hemlock rainforest, open bogs, and subalpine meadows full of wildflowers. It offers exceptional solitude, scenery, hiking, camping, packrafting, and fishing for salmon and dolly varden. It is also among the most popular areas in western PWS for both cross-country and alpine skiing, making the trail an all-season recreation opportunity that creates both summer and off-season revenue for businesses in gateway communities such as Whittier. In short, the Shrode Trail is a jewel of the national forest trail system in PWS.

In recent years, overgrown brush, fallen trees, erosion, and damage to boardwalk and bridges have degraded the Shrode Lake Trail. The trailhead sign at Long Bay has rotted and fallen over, and thick overgrowth consisting of salmonberry, blueberry, ferns, and alder have made the trail wet and impassable in areas. By midsummer each year, the overgrowth presents a deterrent to travel, from both comfort and safety standpoints. Safety issues include loss of identifiable tread and limited visibility in an area near a salmon stream frequented by black bears. Additionally, the damage to boardwalks and bridges lead to streamside erosion and impacts to sensitive wetland vegetation. Combined, the conditions have adversely affected recreational access and enjoyment, which may also curtail economic benefit for water taxis and others.

Chugach National Forest trail managers have been unable to keep up with maintenance on the Shrode Lake Trail in the face of demands from other work nearer to the Glacier District road system. PWS weather and the cost of water taxi transportation have created additional barriers to maintenance.

The PWS Stewardship Foundation proposes to use its volunteer resources, in partnership with Chugach NF trail managers, to continue efforts to restore and enhance the Shrode Lake Trail. The work will entail:

Early summer season survey (2023)

Removing/uprooting brush from the trail corridor (2023)

Clearing fallen trees (2023)

Restoring one trailhead sign and replacing another (2023)

Restoring tread where it has disappeared or eroded over an aggregate of approximately 1 mile (2023)

End of summer season survey (2023)

Early summer season survey (2024)

Repairing bridges (2024)

Replacing boardwalk (2024)

End of summer season survey (2024)


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291 views • posted 05/25/2023