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. For most rural communities, trails are essential for subsistence year-round. They also provide an opportunity to attract travelers and their spending. Most formal attention and support, however, is lent to trails along the road system. With climate change posing an even more urgent threat to the trails and the ability of rural residents to travel safely and reliably, attention needs to be directed to these trail systems which are so essential for these communities.
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 and economic benefits.