The Alaska Long Trail needs your help.
Gov. Dunleavy has included $13.2 million for this project in his $356 million general obligation bond package. While a great step in the right direction, that money is not guaranteed. The Alaska State Legislature must approve the bond package, so amounts are expected to change during that process. If the legislature approves the package, then it goes to the voters.
What’s needed right now?
The Senate Transportation Committee is meeting this week on Thursday, March 11, to hear testimony on the whole bond package. If you support inclusion of the Alaska Long Trail in the bond package you can let your voice be heard by either waiting in the queue to testify, or by emailing these Interior senators who are on the committee and let them know of your support.
- Sen. Click Bishop – District C – Senator.Click.Bishop@akleg.gov
- Sen. Robert Myers (chair) – District B – Senator.Robert.Myers@akleg.gov
If you send any emails, please cc the following people:
- Michaella Anderson, committee staff aide to Senator Myers: Michaella.Anderson@Akleg.gov
- Chris Beck, Alaska Long Trail coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Steve Cleary, Alaska Trails executive director: email@example.com
What else is needed?
The bond package will have more committee hearings in the future. We will let you know when there are other opportunities to comment. At minimum, just make sure your representatives in Juneau know you support inclusion of the Alaska Long Trail in the bond package.
- Alaska Senate contact info: http://akleg.gov/senate.php
- Alaska House contact info: http://akleg.gov/house.php
Don’t know who represents you? Go to the bottom of this page and put your address in the box that says “Who Represents Me?”
Not sure what to say?
See an example letter here. It’s best to use this as a template. Using your own words is better so that a flood of letters exactly the same don’t get dismissed as “form letters.” However, any words of support are better than none at all.
Of particular help during our tough economic time are words that let our representatives know how the the Alaska Long Trail will help our economy. In the short run, it will help with trail construction and maintenance jobs. In the long run, it will help attract new visitors and/or encourage some visitors to stay longer than they otherwise would. Letters that come from businesses, that say, “supporting this Bond Measures will be good for my business, and other businesses in our community” will be particularly helpful.
You can also help by:
- Writing newspaper letters to the editor or op-ed pieces.
- Encouraging other individuals to support Alaska Long Trail inclusion in the bond package through social media. (Feel free to send them a link to this article.)
- Encouraging groups to support the ALT in the bond package. Groups that should support the ALT include chambers of commerce, local governments, visitor industry organizations, tourism businesses, and activity-based outdoor nonprofits, such as hiking, biking, skiing, snowmachining, and ATV groups.
What is the Alaska Long Trail?
The Alaska Long Trail would create a continuous trail from Seward to Fairbanks by connecting existing trails with new trail segments. Plans are still being worked out, but ideas being discussed include multiple trails and routes in some areas to accommodate a variety of trail users over all seasons.
The project has the potential to give a big boost to the visitor industry by creating an iconic adventure similar to other long trails, such as the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails in the Lower 48, the Great Trail (aka theTrans-Canada Trail), and the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
In addition to the benefits of boosting our visitor industry, the project will improve local trails for locals.
How would the Alaska Long Trail benefit the Interior?
Exact details are still being decided, but among other things, the ALT project would:
- Provide motorized multi-use trail connections to existing forestry roads in the Tanana Valley State Forest between Fairbanks and Nenana. The connections would greatly expand trail trip possibilities in that area.
- Add bathrooms to the Isberg Recreation Area parking lot.
- Provide another trail on Ester Dome that would be an alternative to the Equinox Marathon’s Alder Chute.
- Add trail connections to existing trails between Denali National Park and Nenana.
For More Information
- Alaska Long Trail page
- Full list of ALT projects included in the bond package (4.9MB)
- The bond bill (to find info on the Alaska Long Trail search for “trail”)