I recently sent the following email off to FNSB Mayor Bryce Ward, FNSB Parks and Rec Director Mike Bork, FNSB Trails Coordinator Bryant Wright, and the FNSB Borough Assembly. I encourage others to do something similar.
I am very happy to see that the Borough’s Capital Improvement Program was passed with several outdoor recreation projects included. Thank you for that!
Outdoor recreation is a vital part of our community and our future. It improves the quality of life of our citizens and helps keep us healthy, physically and mentally. Access to outdoor recreation opportunities is also critical for our community’s ability to expand the visitor industry, an important component for diversifying our economy.
Recently, Juneau and Anchorage decided to use CARES Act funding for outdoor access projects. This will create immediate jobs and help improve outdoor infrastructure in their communities, which will provide benefits now and into the future.
Juneau is spending $1 million for a pilot program similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Anchorage has funded a $21.5 million package that includes $500,000 for trails and an additional $2.5 million for spruce bark beetle remediation. (Links to articles below.)
I hope local Fairbanks governments will do something similar here. We have many trails and parks that offer access to outdoor experiences. However, we lack a variety of things, such as orientation signs, formal trailheads with parking, some legal easements, and proper maintenance for some trails.
In addition, we have nearby areas that can be further developed to increase outdoor recreation opportunities. A great example of that is the Tanana Valley State Forest, which has outstanding potential. A Division of Forestry trails project is just starting to explore that area. We have other opportunities, as well. The Fairbanks-area report of the Alaska Statewide Trails Initiative has several projects that can be started very soon: https://tinyurl.com/ydggsmna
Our outstanding Borough Parks and Recreation Department and Trails Office have already done a lot to improve our outdoor recreation opportunities. Our local Alaska State Parks and Bureau of Land Management offices have done a great job of providing nearby year-round recreation opportunities that bring joy to residents and visitors to the Interior. Several nonprofit groups, such as the Interior Alaska Trails and Parks Foundation, the Interior Alaska Land Trust, and the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks, are already striving to bring more opportunities to the area. Together we can accomplish a lot.
Covid-19 has been horrible for our community, but we can use this funding opportunity to help create a much better future for us.
Eric TroyerInterior Trails Newsletter
Juneau Empire article:
Anchorage Daily News article: