The Fairbanks Borough Assembly is currently considering the borough budget. Now is a good time to speak up about trails.
The Assembly will be taking testimony on the borough BUDGET tomorrow (Thursday) night. People can also comment by sending an email or making phone calls to Assembly members. See below on How to Act.
The Parks and Recreation Department budget from Mayor Bryce Ward appears to be about the same as last year with increases for inflation. The department deals with far more than trails, but a large part of its duties consist of trails and the borough’s recreation areas. Among other things, the Trail Coordinator position is still funded. (Though temporarily vacant. See why HERE.)
Consider some of the trail-related things the department does:
- Summer and winter Trails Challenges
- Maintenance of several rec areas that have trails: Chena Lake, Tanana Lakes, and Isberg recreation areas, and Skyline Ridge and South Davis parks.
- Winter grooming of trails in the Chena Lake and Tanana Lakes recreation areas.
- Maintenance of landing/takeout areas for some local lakes and rivers.
- Support of the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks’s efforts to maintain and groom the trails at Birch Hill Recreation Area.
- Heading up a number of other trail projects in the works or planned, such as the updating of the Comprehensive Trails Plan, Equinox Trail Extension, Peede Road Open Space trail and trailhead development, and the Community Trails Improvement Program
The Assembly has the power to increase or cut the budget (or leave it as is). Increase is unlikely unless there is something specific the public wants that the mayor didn’t include. I know of nothing like that regarding trails.
So, please speak up in support of trails. And, of course, speak up on anything else you feel strongly about regarding the budget.
HOW TO ACT
- Send emails to or call Assembly members to let them know you support the mayor’s budget for the Parks and Recreation Department, especially regarding trails and recreation areas. Find Assembly contact information HERE. (The top link on that page, “Contact the Borough Assembly,” will allow you to send an email to all the Assembly members at once.) You can see a suggested email below.
- Testify at the meeting. You have three minutes to speak. You can testify by attending the meeting in person or by calling in. Find out how by scrolling down to “How to Provide Testimony” on this PAGE.
COMPREHENSIVE TRAILS PLAN NEXT STEP
The FNSB Comprehensive Trails Plan will be the subject of the next Platting Board hearing on May 17. I wrote a POST about that when the board had a work session the trails plan earlier. Stay tuned for more on how you can help as we get closer to May 17.
EXAMPLE EMAIL TO THE ASSEMBLY
While considering the budget, I ask that you support the mayor’s Parks and Recreation Department budget. The department does so much to improve our quality of life and to help our citizens help themselves keep mentally and physically fit. Among other things, the department helps maintain and provide access to borough park spaces and many miles of trails. So many citizens use these every day for recreation, exercise, commuting, and socializing. And the cost per user is very low. The department also provides excellent facilities that are a draw for tourists to the area.
Thank you for your service,