Securing Funding for the Alaska Long Trail
In February this year, Governor Dunleavy submitted a proposal for $13.2M in trail projects for the Alaska Long Trail. Alaska Trails and its many partners are now reaching out to the Legislature, to secure support for this much needed Long Trail project funding. If you are a supporter of the Long Trail we urge you to do the same!
Trail projects to be funded were identified by a coalition of partners in each location along the length of the trail, as part of Alaska Trails’ statewide Trails Investment Strategy. Partners and parties consulted included: cities and boroughs; Alaska DNR (Divisions of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Forestry, Mining Land & Water); Alaska DOT; Alaska Department of Fish & Game; Chugach National Forest; Denali National Park; NPS Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program; Kenai Mountain - Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area, representatives of regional tourism marketing organizations and individual tourism businesses; non-profit regional trails organizations and individual trail users.
The Long Trail project was included in the Governor’s G.O. bond package as
$13.2M Fairbanks to Seward Multi-Use Recreation Trail.
(Please note this amount will cover a portion of the trail completion, not the whole length)
Two Swerves Along the Way
GO Bond funding switch to capital budget: The Long Trail was included in the Governor’s proposed General Obligation bond, but the G.O. Bond may not happen, in part due to the influx of federal “American Rescue Plan” funds. If the G.O. Bond is dropped, Alaska Trails supports switching the projects to the Capital Budget, tapping into ARP dollars.
Correct project list: The initial set of projects included by the Governor's office under the $13.2M were good projects, relying on previous Alaska Trails work; but they were not the right Long Trail projects. We’ve worked with our coalition to identify the right set of projects for the Trail, and that process resulted in $15.8M worth of priorities (vs. the $13.2M in the GO Bond). DNR is now advocating for this slightly larger package. Please see the correct projects above.
Current Status Summary
The Legislature is working to set operations and capital budgets, now with the benefit of over $1 billion in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds.
If, as now expected, the GO Bond doesn’t move forward, project funding should shift to the capital budget.
The Constitution requires the Legislature to adjourn by May 19th this year. Many people close to the process expect final approval of budgets will require a special Legislative session following May 19.
Now is the time to get statements of support to the Legislature as the capital budget is considered the first three weeks of May.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Submit statements of support to your local legislators by May 10th
- Legislative contacts compiled by Alaska Outdoor Alliance
- Emphasize that investing in outdoor recreation investments is essential infrastructure
- Explain benefits of the projects in your district and Long Trail as a whole
- Reference the correct project package
- Check the Alaska Outdoor Alliance's Advocacy Tool Kit
Updated April 30, 2021
Reach out to your legislators with support for these projects!