Thursday, December 10, 2009

Phase II update

Greetings Singletrack Advocates,

I wish I could announce that our Christmas present this year would be permission to build Phase II of the singletrack project. Unfortunately at tonight’s Parks & Recreation Commission meeting the Commission voted to leave the original Phase II area out of the trails plan. As a small token of concession, however, the Commission did agree to insert within the body of the plan, mention that the area below Stuckagain Heights neighborhood is suitable terrain for singletrack. Essentially, this is a nod to STA for being good community partners and it is an official record for future Parks & Rec Commission members that this debate did occur. As institutional knowledge goes, it’s only as good as those present at the table … unless of course there is a paper trail (no pun intended).

Here are some other items of note:

  • Rover’s Run will be closed seasonally from spring through fall, and will be opened for winter use. How the Muni proposes to close the trail (signage vs. physical barriers) remains to be decided.
  • An alternative route to Rover’s remains in the plan—it connects the Gasline Corridor to Black Bear Trail to a new trail just south of Moose Meadow.
  • The area known to us as “Baseball Boogie” (adjacent the Elmore ballfield, Sahallee neighborhood and Service High School) shall be noted in the plan as reserved for Class I/II trails (very narrow, unaltered tread) in keeping with its current character—I requested this in order to preserve the intricate network of social trails that the adjacent neighborhood uses and which is becoming increasingly popular among those of us who like handlebar-width tree clearances and root balls every 10-20 feet. In all seriousness, these trails are a lot of fun to ride.

The next stop for this trails plan is the Urban Design Commission for final adoption.

I’m sorry that I don’t have much better news. Thank you to those of you who came to offer support. Be prepared to turn out in droves as the public debate gets going on the master plans for Chugach State Park and Section 36!

Janice

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trail damage

This week's rain and warm temperatures have made a mess of the trails. (Just when they were getting good, too!)

Riders are reporting slushy trails, pools of water and "unrideable" conditions. Until the weather cools and the trails harden again, bikes will only create nasty ruts and delay the return of good riding surfaces.

Please monitor weather trail conditions before venturing out.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Section 36 Comments

Comments are being accepted for the Section 36 Master Plan until Nov. 30. You never know who will come out of the woodwork, so it doesn’t hurt to get out the vote. If you haven’t done so already, please go to this link and write a few sentences for trails!

Click here to comment.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Want more singletrack?

A public open house will be held for the Section 36 Master Plan on Tuesday, November 10 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at Goldenview Middle School.

This meeting will be to gather input from members of the Anchorage community on the type of use and level of development for the 640-acre park in southeast Anchorage, known as Section 36.

A Master Plan is being prepared for Section 36 by the Municipality of Anchorage’s Parks & Recreation Department. The Master Plan will be based on a conceptual level, determining the type and level of use, facilities, and access to be provided by the park.

For more information, contact Alison Lohrke, Public Involvement Planner for Dowl HKM. (907) 562-2000.

(Note: Singletrack Advocates has already submitted comments on this issue, and encourages everyone to attend this event to speak up for the development of singletrack in Section 36.)


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Autumn on the trails

Late-season riding on the new trails
has been beautiful.

Pretty soon, all the fallen leaves will
make it difficult to see the trail tread.

The log bridge is getting a lot of use
by riders bold enough to try it ...

and from a few who probably shouldn't.
Fortunately, the landing is (sort of) soft.

Go ride before it snows.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bikes in Chugach State Park?

We’re trying hard to get mountain biking factored into the Chugach State Park Master Trails Plan! If you want to see trails built and other trails opened up to mountain bikes, please be sure to attend Tuesday’s (Sept. 22nd) open house at 6:30 p.m., at the Campbell Creek Science Center.

This will require an effort of the same magnitude that got the new STA Trails! Please take an hour to show your support, and at the very minimum, comment on the Master Trails Plan by Friday, October 16th.

Here is the link to the Master Trails Plan.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy riders

Mountain bikers are loving the new trails! Here's what a few of told us via e-mail:

Had my first opportunity to ride the new trails yesterday -- many thanks to all of you for your efforts in getting them established. I had a terrific time riding the trails; even though I’m definitely not a good mountain biker (I’m a triathlete, road biker). I definitely felt challenged throughout the ride, yet safe at the same time -- can definitely see you’ve put a great deal of thought into the design so it appeals to bikers of all abilities.

Again, many thanks for your efforts in putting together a fantastic trail system!

Thanks
Jeff

Hi - I just wanted to let you know that I recently had the opportunity to ride these trails. They are fantastic! I am really impressed by the quality of the tracks and I appreciate the hard work that you (and others) obviously put in. I will be signing up post haste.

Thanks,
Russ

I can't remember if I have said it before so I'm saying it again! Thanks for bringing those single track trails to us, we rode them today and with the Fall colors it was fun! Thanks and hope you are well!

Kim

Yesterday I went out mountain biking for the first time in way too long, and I decided to try out some of the new trails. They are amazing! I just wanted to say that the trails are really fun to ride!

Thanks,
Eric

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thursday trail maintenance

The Parks & Rec Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) Crew will be doing maintenance on the entire network of singletrack this Thursday, June 25th. Please steer clear until after 5 p.m.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ribbon Cutting and Work Party

Acting Mayor Matt Claman cuts the ribbon
at the bottom of Drone Lane.

On June 6, 2009, a special celebration took place in the Hilltop Ski Area as part of the National Trails Day events that took place within the BLM Campbell Creek and Far North Bicentennial Park and resulted in more than 115 volunteers working on local Anchorage area trails for three hours each. Many youths of all ages came out and actively joined parents to help maintain the local trails.

Singletrack Advocates celebrated the grand opening of 7.5 miles of new, sustainably designed singletrack mountain biking trails. The NPS-Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program provided consulting and project assistance on the effort for four years. Janice Tower, STA's leader (also known as the "Queen Bee") was honored by all her drones, 40 or so community-wide trail volunteers and agency partners.

Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department planner Holly Spoth-Torres was on hand to open up the ceremony. Acting Mayor Matt Claman thanked Janice and STA for taking a leadership role in helping the municipality provide for recreation opportunities that the agency could not afford. Sue Masica, NPS, Alaska regional director offered her thanks to Janice for her leadership, and shared with the crowd the role NPS has in communities across the state and America.

James King, director of Alaska State Parks shared his teams quotes, praising Janice for being the ultimate partner and for managing her end of the State Recreation Trails and Alaska Trails Initiative grants more efficiently than anyone has before. King presented Janice her very own "Queen Bee" Pulaski—white bow included—which she plans to hang over her fireplace. Claman then cut the broad yellow hazard tape and proclaimed the trails officially open! The crowd cheered and quickly broke into trail crews to head out and help repair the tread that was so badly damaged by more than 100 trees falling in last fall's high-wind event.

The most satisfying moment for Janice and her team of now-trained volunteers, was seeing the high quality of work that happened very efficiently. Problems of what to do with difficult water control issues, best ways to move around rock obstacles and re-establishing tread were solved creatively with successful solutions. Four years ago Anchorage trail volunteers could not do this. With great thanks to the International
Mountain Biking Association and Alaska Trails, Anchorage now has a host of trained and qualified trail crew bosses and volunteers.

Watching the crews work fast and efficiently, while applying proper trail construction methods and knowledge, was very satisfying to all involved. We've come a long way in improving our ability to build, construct and now maintain sustainable trails. Happy Trails, to all of you! We'll see you out on Drone Lane, Janice's Jive, the Hive, the Stinger or the Hornet's Nest.

Ride on!

Best of all, when the work was done,
the volunteers went for a ride on the new trails.

(Thanks to Lisa H. for this writeup.)

Printable map & membership form

Please note that direct links to these two documents have been added in the upper-right corner of this page for easy access. The trails are in great shape—print a map and go for a ride!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Time to celebrate!

You are cordially invited to the

Grand Opening of the Singletrack Trails

A National Trails Day Project

Saturday, June 6th

Hilltop Ski Area, South Parking Lot

next to Karl Eid Ski Jump

8:30 a.m. Coffee and Pastries

9:00 a.m. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and thank you to our volunteers and supporters

9:15 a.m. National Trails Day Project—clean-up and tread repair (Items to bring: work gloves, water, loppers, hand saws, shovels, rakes, brush cutters, etc.)

12:00 p.m. Pizza party at Campbell Creek Science Center

2:00 p.m. Go ride the trails!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Stand up for Singletrack!

This Thursday the Parks & Recreation Commission will take public testimony and vote on the Far North Bicentennial Park Trails Improvement Plan. There are dozens of proposed projects and maintenance items in this plan. STA’s Phase II of the singletrack project is included… at least for now.

There is significant resistance to constructing new singletrack in the area bound by Campbell Airstrip Road, the North Gasline and the Stuckagain Heights neighborhood. The two most prevalent reasons are: 1) bears; 2) sentiments that the area should remain undeveloped. After considering concerns from wildlife officials and Stuckagain Heights neighbors, we decided to reduce the project area to allow a wider corridor for wildlife and to locate the trails below the power line so as not to intrude on the view of adjacent property owners. These decisions effectively reduced the project area by half, but we would still have an opportunity to build about 2-3 miles of trail in the remaining area.

I know that the weather is supposed to be gorgeous this week, but it is important that Singletrack Advocates make a strong showing at this hearing. You don’t have to speak if you don’t want to—but if you are so inclined your comments are appreciated.

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION HEARING
Thursday, May 14th 6:00 p.m.
Lidia Selkregg Chalet
Russian Jack Park

Monday, April 27, 2009

We need your support

For a full-size version of our membership form, please click on the image above, print a copy and mail the completed form and your donation to the address shown. We need your support to help build and maintain Alaska singletrack.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Speak up now!

FNBP Trails Improvement Plan
Written Public Comment Deadline Approaches!

April 29, 2009

Please take some time to look at the trails plan documents and submit your comments online. The park planners and Parks & Rec Commissioners really read these! All park users are invited to comment.

FNBP Trails Improvement Plan Documents

Here's the link to provide written comments

Please pay particular attention to:

· Phase II Singletrack Trails, Project #24
: Singletrack Advocates is receiving opposition from some neighbors citing bear issues. We removed from the project, all proposed trails between Campbell Creek to the south, and Campbell Airstrip Road to the north in order to allow a wider wildlife corridor. This effectively cut Phase II in half.

Also, some trails in Bicentennial Park are slated for widening but this might serve a greater purpose. You decide!

· Project #17, Multiuse Connector from Gasline/Spencer Loop Area to Chugach State Park: STA co-located the new singletrack trails with this multi-use trail so as to minimize disruption of the singletrack should this project go through. STA and Nordic Ski Club trail designers worked together to achieve optimum alignments for both trails.

· The Trails Classification System: This should clarify what trails should look like and be maintained for their intended use.

· Figure 16, Existing and Proposed Trail Classes: The STA trails built last summer are described as multi-use except for equestrians. If you agree with this, please comment.

PUBLIC HEARING DATE: Thursday, May 14th 6:00 p.m.

Lidia Selkregg Chalet at Russian Jack Springs Park

Thanks for your help

Thursday, April 2, 2009

We need your help

Phase II of our project which is a part of this plan is experiencing strong pressure from some residents living in the Stuckagain Heights neighborhood. Although the Community Council voted unanimously last spring in favor of our project and issued a resolution of support, some residents have arrived late to the process and are raising concerns about increased park use and wildlife.

It is important to note that early in our planning process we met with Fish and Game biologists to seek their input on our project. Their advice to us was simple: stay away from the creek and berry patches. Based on their concerns about maintaining a wildlife buffer, we eliminated two trails that would come close to Campbell Creek.

Please try to come to the upcoming meetings to support the trails. If we don’t show up in numbers, the decision-makers will inclined to side with a small but vocal minority. At the very minimum, please provide written comment by April 29th at Parks & Rec's site.

Monday April 6th: FNBP User Group Meeting 6:20 p.m. at the Campbell Creek Science Center

Thursday, May 14th: Parks & Recreation Commission Meeting, 6:00 p.m. at the Spenard Rec Center

Thank you very much for your trail advocacy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Statewide Trails Conference

Singletrack Advocates,

The 2009 Statewide Trails Conference (April 22-25) is a little over a month away. This four-day event, held in Anchorage in conjunction with the Alaska Recreation & Park Association's annual conference, is scheduled with incredible sessions full of resources, information and contacts to help you make good decisions about the trails in your life. With an emphasis on
sustainable trail design and management, the conference will offer sessions on topics ranging from technical skills to public access/use issues to running effective crews.

With great speakers like Lance Mackey, Vic Fischer, Rick Sinnott, Russ Ehnes, and more, there should be something for everyone. Speakers and panelists come from all over Alaska, as well as from California, Montana, and Maine. Registration is open now and early rates apply through March 30, so don't miss this chance to meet with and learn from trails experts of all stripes. (Sponsored in part by Alaska Trails and the NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.)

In addition to the trails conference there will be tracks on bike/pedestrian planning, advocacy, and infrastructure; getting kids outdoors; therapeutic recreation, and more. Further details and registration information are available at www.alaskarpa.org.

We hope you plan ahead to attend in April, and help spread the word!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The new trail map

We're finally read to release a trail map to help everyone navigate their way through the new Hillside singletrack. You can click on the image above to get the full-size version for easier viewing and printing.

Please note that the trail names are tentative, pending final approval by the muni. Once that process is complete, Parks & Rec will publish an official map. In the mean time, this one should enable users to become familiar with the network.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Parks & Rec Strategic Action Plan

The Parks & Recreation Department of the Municipality of Anchorage invites the public’s participation in an effort to update our 5-year Parks Strategic Action Plan. The Parks & Recreation Department has realized significant achievements under the last 2005 – 2008 Strategic Action Plan and it is time to think strategically about the next 5 years for Parks & Recreation in the Municipality.

The Parks Strategic Action Plan identifies the critical steps needed to assure a bright future for Parks and Recreation in the Municipality of Anchorage.

Seeking to inform and gain public input, we have scheduled 4 Community Meetings to:

· Celebrate all the hard work and progress made in improving Anchorage Parks and Trails;

· Unveil plans for upcoming 2009-2010 neighborhood parks projects;

· Help plan future improvements to the park and trail system;

· Learn about Proposition 4 – the Parks Bond proposition;

· Learn about volunteer opportunities for this summer and get involved in your local park.

You and your constituents are cordially invited to the 2009 – 2014 Parks Strategic Action Plan Update Community Meetings, scheduled as follows:

* Northeast Park District
March 30, 6 p.m.
Begich Middle School

* Northwest Park District
March 26, 6 p.m.
Romig Middle School

* Central & Southeast Park Districts
April 1, 6 p.m.
Spring Hill Elementary School

* Southwest Park District
March 31, 6 p.m.
Klatt Elementary School

We sincerely appreciate your help in getting the word out to people about these important public participation opportunities. We look forward to seeing you there.

Many Thanks,
Suzanne Little
Park Planner
Department of Parks & Recreation
Municipality of Anchorage
632 West 6th Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99510
Office: 907-343-4500

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mark your calendar

Arctic Bicycle Club Annual Bike Swap

Date: Sunday, April 12th

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. set-up

1:00 to 4:00 p.m. sales

Location: AT&T Sports Pavilion at the bottom of O’Malley next to Alaska Club South

Bring your used cycling equipment and clothing to the Arctic Bicycle Club’s Annual Bike Swap. There is no commission.

For more information email Janice Tower at jtower@alaska.com.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Phase II up for discussion

On Monday, March 2nd at 6:20 p.m. at the BLM Campbell Creek Science Center, Parks & Rec will unveil Round 2 of the FNBP Trails Improvement Plan. There are a lot of proposals on the table including ski trails, bridges, and Phase II of the Hillside Singletrack Project which is back on the map for discussion.

Those who want to see more singletrack should be diligent and keep those comments coming when appropriate. Emailed comments will be taken after March 2nd (see link below). The Trails Improvement Plan will go to the Parks & Rec Commission as an information item in April, and again in May for final approval.

It's also important that park users comment on the proposals because this plan will drive future development, maintenance of trails both wide and narrow, and also ensure the protection of valued areas in need of preservation.

The FNBP Draft Trail Improvements Plan will contain:
• Map of the proposed Trail Improvements Plan
• Existing and proposed trail classifications
• List of future trail projects
• Trail construction and maintenance guidelines

To obtain a copy of the draft plan, visit www.muni.org/parks/FNBPTrailsPlanDocs.cfm beginning the week of March 2.

Comments can be submitted via e-mail at fnbp@dowl.com fax at (907) 563-3953 or by writing to DOWL HKM,

Attn: Alison Lohrke, 4041 B Street, Anchorage, Alaska, 99503

Project Website: www.muni.org/parks/FNBPTrailsPlanHome.cfm

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Well-deserved thanks

On February 11, the National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office proudly presented Janice Tower with a Volunteer-in-Parks Award for her 532 plus hours of volunteer time dedicated to a NPS Partnership project—the Hillside Singletrack Trails.

As Singletrack Advocates members all know, Janice is a dedicated community activist. When she sees a local opportunity, she grabs the chance to figure out how to make it happen. Janice started, and still runs, Mighty Bikes, a program that engages more than 120 youths in Anchorage to develop mountain biking skills and learn to ride safely throughout each summer. When Anchorage narrow trails were disappearing because of trail improvements for Nordic skiing, she helped to start and manage Singletrack Advocates. Getting a group of independent mountain bikers to come together for a common vision is no small task. Singletrack Advocates became active in the monthly Friends of Far North Bicentennial Park meetings and obtained a seat on the Far North Trail Advisory Committee. In the beginning, STA's sole purpose was advocacy, to protect singletrack trails.

In 2004, the National Park Service-Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program invited the International Mountain Biking Association to host a Trail Care Crew visit in Anchorage. With sponsorship from Alaska Trails and Singletrack Advocates, the Anchorage mountain biking community obtained knowledge about sustainable trail design standards. STA was sure that singletrack trails had to be built by hand, and spent an entire summer hand digging one mile of new trail in Far North. The Brown Bear Trail is their pride and joy. But after that experience, STA knew there was a reason to consider mini-mechanized equipment.

In 2007, applied to the NPS-RTCA program for technical assistance. STA then moved from Trail Advocates to Trail Builders. Walking through the complex maze of required permits, public meetings, planning processes, fund raising and trail contracting has had its challenging moments. Janice spent more than 532 hours of volunteer time to bring Anchorage its first 7.5 miles of sustainably designed singletrack mountain-biking trails. To do so, she raised more than $300,000. Janice continues to work toward an additional 4 to 5 miles of trail in the Anchorage bowl.

On February 11, 2009, Sue Masica, NPS Alaska Regional Director presented Janice with her Volunteer-in-Parks Award Certificate, a volunteer T-Shirt, an America the Beautiful Pass (so she can access National Parks around the country on her amazing bike trips), and a REI gift certificate. The NPS Alaska Regional Office staff were on hand to give Janice a huge round of applause and thanks for being such a great Partner on a National Park Service Partnership project. NPS also extends its gratitude to all the STA members that have spent endless hours helping to build sustainable mountain biking trails in Anchorage.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Help build Alaska Trails

Alaska Trails, our trail building partner, is among the agencies of the PFD Charitable Contributions Program. Singletrack Advocates has partnered with Alaska Trails to bring you 7.5 miles of new singletrack on the Anchorage hillside. If you are considering making a donation through the Dividend Program, please think of Alaska Trails. Donations will support Alaska Trails projects statewide.

Bear education survey

Anchorage Parks and Recreation is putting together a bear education program and would like input from trail users that will assist them with program design.

If you would like to participate, click here and spend a few minutes sharing your opinions.