Monday, June 8, 2009
Ribbon Cutting and Work Party
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.
(Thanks to Lisa H. for this writeup.)