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!