Saturday, September 27, 2008

Will our trails be blocked?

Greetings Singletrack Advocates,

The Municipality of Anchorage Parks & Recreation Department is putting the finishing touches on the Far North Bicentennial Park Trails Plan. One omission from the most recent version of the plan is Phase II of the Hillside Singletrack Project. This second phase is located on the north side of Campbell Airstrip Road and just below Stuckagain Heights neighborhood.

As a bit of background, the Basher Community Council passed a resolution unanimously in support of Phase II of the project. It also received extensive multi-agency review through the Coastal Zone Management Program and an Environmental Checklist. This occurred before this summer’s problems with the bears reached a critical point.

The reason given for the removal of the project was the need to maintain wildlife corridors. I can understand that the wildlife issue deserves more thoughtful discussion and the development of a management plan. Removing Phase II of the project essentially eliminates the hope for any future trail project in this area. At least if the project is in the plan, it could conceivably happen at some point in the near or distant future. If it’s not in the plan, any proposal could be turned down simply on the basis that “it isn’t consistent with the Trails Plan.”

Parks & Rec has to balance a lot of competing issues in the park. Singletrack concerns are just one of them. There are many difficult choices to be made. It would be worth your time to visit the Trails Plan website and click on the link to give your individual opinion. There are a lot of supporting materials available on the website as well.

Please note that the plan is a work in progress, and will later be presented for public review. Now is the time to speak up on behalf of our trail project.



Philip Fontana said...

So, our comment should included keeping Phase II if we want more singletrack development on the North side?

Janice said...

Yes, that is correct. Request that Phase II be put back into the draft plan so that the project can continue through the public process.