Monday, April 21, 2008

Park Foundation grant

The Anchorage Park Foundation has awarded us $7,500 for the Hillside Singletrack Project. This wouldn’t have been possible without your donations to the project. There will be a congratulatory celebration this Thursday, April 24th at 11 a.m. at the Elizabeth and Roy Peratrovich Park, Corner of 4th and E Streets. Please join us!

Thanks again for your support of STA and this project.

Friday, April 11, 2008

We’re On the Way!

Because of our exceptionally well-planned and organized proposal, and overwhelming support from other user groups, the Parks & Recreation Commission on Thursday night approved our proposal to build Phase I of the Hillside Singletrack Trail Project.

The Parks & Rec staff recommendation to the commission was to limit us to a single, 4-mile loop trail this summer, would could have jeopardized the overall project by forcing us to build a majority of the trail network in 2009. If the extra workload, weather, or other factors kept us from completing the work by the fall of next year, we would be at risk of losing funds from grants with sunset clauses.

By the end of the night, the commissioners were so impressed by the project and its broad-based support, they rejected the staff recommendation and voted unanimously to approve our proposal.

The Phase I work that the commission approved involves the area above Hilltop Ski Area and the Spencer Loop ski trail. It consists of two loops, one intermediate and the other advanced, for approximately 8.5 miles of finished singletrack. This will be done as a “pilot project” while the Far North Bicentennial Park Trails Plan continues through public process and is finalized next spring. Phase II of the project (north of Campbell Creek) will go through an approval process once the Trails Plan is complete.

We are committed to working with the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage to come up with an optimum alignment of a groomable multi-use trail connecting the Gasline at Hilltop Ski Area with Prospect Heights in Chugach State Park. Effort will be made to make efficient use of the acreage in order to maximize the amount of space for singletrack.

Thank you to all the people who attended Thursday night’s meeting to show support, and to those who spoke on our behalf, including representatives of the orienteering and Nordic user groups.

And an extra-large thanks is owed to Janice “Queen Bee” Tower—who has waded through a morass of bureaucracy over the past three years while doing an unbelievable amount of work to get us to this point—and to Lisa Holzapfel of the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. Lisa is an invaluable ally and supporter of our efforts.

And thank you to all of you who have donated money, attended STA fundraisers, testified at public meetings and otherwise given your moral support toward the effort. All of this is greatly appreciated.

We are still on schedule for a targeted ground breaking on July 15!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Time to be heard

On Thursday, April 10, at 6 p.m. in the Spenard Recreation Center, we are on the Parks & Rec Commission Agenda as an action item. The request is to go forward with building ½ of the total scope of the project—essentially the entire southern section of the project area. We will need a lot of supporters at this meeting, so please be there to possibly testify on our behalf, emphasizing not only mountain biking but the multi-use aspect of the project. Let’s show that we’d like more singletrack in Anchorage!