welcome to the ALaska trails initiative
our trails need a public advocate. we seek to...
RAISE AWARENESS OF PUBLIC HEALTH BENEFITS. Trails provide public health benefits in terms of increased mental health, increased happiness, and increased physical well-being. In the Mat-Su Borough alone, access to public outdoor spaces has saved the region's residents approximately $3.24 M annually in health care and lost productivity costs. If all Alaskan residents gain the same benefit from public outdoor spaces, they could save around $25.1 M annually.
EXPAND ACCESS TO OUTDOOR RECREATION ACROSS THE STATE. The vast majority of trails in Alaska are located near the road system. For communities off the road system, trails can act as the "main street" of town, serving as a vital connector for the people who live there while attracting visitors. They can also be essential for subsistence. These communities have a distinct disadvantage, however, when applying for grants to fund these projects. With higher costs and fewer directly impacted citizens, the applications of rural communities struggle to win funds.
BOLSTER PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR TRAILS AND THE OUTDOOR RECREATION ECONOMY. Trails need and deserve a public advocate. For too long, outdoor recreation has served as the go-to area for budget cuts, with administrative entities treating it as a "luxury" industry. In fact, outdoor recreation is a smart investment. In the Mat-Su Borough, investment in public lands produced approximately $5.31 of benefits for every $1 invested-- an especially impressive return. Alaskans love trails. It's time they got the support they deserve.
SECURE FUNDING FOR TRAIL MAINTENANCE AND DEVELOPMENT. For decades, state and federal agencies have been unable to provide trails enough funding assistance. The result: more than $28.8 M in deferred maintenance on state- and federally-managed trails in Alaska, and a lack of resources to promote further development. Despite tremendous public aid and volunteer support, without funding assistance, trail organizations cannot simultaneously perform critical maintenance while continuing to develop new trails that offer greater public benefit and outdoor access.