There has been a bit of a change on a small part of a Goldstream Valley trail.
Someone has built a driveway along a small portion of the Tanana Valley Railroad Trail that runs along the south side of Goldstream Valley on the west side of Ballaine Road. The driveway takes off from the northern part of Miller Hill Road and heads west.
Having trouble picturing where that’s at? I’ve created a Google Maps dot here: https://goo.gl/maps/QU1zmJSDaPwGfx3K9
This trail gets much more use in winter, so many people might not have noticed the change. It’s uncertain if and how the driveway will affect trail users. I have been told that the driveway owners don’t plan to block the trail. They have cleared a space just off the trail and hope to build a place before full winter hits. However, I have not talked to the landowners directly. If they don’t block the trail, and it’s not plowed down to dirt/gravel, then it may not be a problem. Time will tell.
Neighbors (and others) have built a reroute around the driveway. It’s not completely obvious. If you are heading west on the trail, the reroute splits off from the main trail just before Miller Hill Road. That part is obvious. However, the reroute then heads south on Miller Hill Road for about 100 feet before turning off the west side of the road, going across the powerline easement and then into the woods (south of the driveway owner’s property). From there it goes 1200 feet or so until it joins the valley trail again. (I plan to recognize and thank all who were involved, but I need to get my facts straight first.)
Update: After my post was made public, Kristin Eckwright shared it on the Goldstream Community Facebook page. A long conversation ensued which included whether or not the driveway would become a problem for trail users in the future. Some said no, others weren’t so sure. In any case, as Kristin wrote, the reroute is there if it is needed. She also provided a roughly drawn map of the reroute (below). Thank you again for providing the reroute in case it is necessary.
That portion of the trail apparently does not have any sort of protection, such as an easement. It does appear to be in the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s Comprehensive Recreational Trails Plan. However, that is a planning tool. According to the plan, an easement would be required IF the land is subdivided. That doesn’t appear to be the case here. According to Bryant Wright, trails coordinator for the Fairbanks North Star Borough” it doesn’t appear that the land has ever been subdivided under the Borough’s code.”
So, hopefully no problems will result from this. And if there are problems, at least a reroute exists. Thank you to the people who put in the reroute and the landowner who allowed the trail to be rerouted across their property.
This is another illustration of what happens when trails don’t have proper protections. This section of trail is small, but even a small section of trail can provide connection to a much larger network of trails.
Landowners can provide easement protections by filling out and filing an easement form found here.
If anyone wants to see what can be done about protecting that trail (or any others) please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or FNSB Trails Coordinator Bryant Wright (email@example.com;907-459-7401).