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.