9:00 – 10:00
Technology on Trails
Innovations continue to improve the way we find, navigate and use trails. This panel will highlight a few new ways that those innovations are helping trail users bring new tech to trails in Alaska.
In an ironic turn of events, our recording for this presentation on technology didn't record properly. We apologize to any who may have been interested in watching it.
10:15 – 10:45
An Alaskan Model for a Volunteer Led Trail Crew
In 2015, a group of volunteers began looking into the idea of a trail that would cross from the busy shores of Kachemak Bay to the open Pacific coast within Kachemak Bay State Park. They began this project with almost no knowledge of trail-building, nor of how to work with park administration, or even properly organize volunteers. Since then, volunteers have spent about 1300 days - 1000 by adults, and 300 by kids - on the project. The trail is easily followed across the peninsula and connects to previously built trails for a total of a 32 mile journey along the Tutka Backdoor Trail between Jakolof Bay and Tutka Bay along the north coast and Taylor Bay on the south coast. The success of this project is largely the result of successful collaboration between the volunteers, led by Hig of Ground Truth Alaska (a 501c3 nonprofit - formerly Ground Truth Trekking), and Alaska State Parks - especially Kachemak Bay State Park's trail specialist Eric Clarke. This relationship has been complex and at times difficult, but give-and-take on both sides has made it possible, and in fact a great success. Hig and State Parks personnel will present on the project, the mechanics, and the potential broader application of this sort of relationship for other land managers in Alaska.
Presentation:• Tutka Backdoor: Designed & Built by Volunteers
11:00 – 12:15
Process for Reserving Trails on State General Use Land and 17B Easements
A. Trail Reservations
For years, the process of reserving trail routes on State of Alaska “General Use Land” – the vast majority of Alaska’s 100 million acres – has been slow and costly. This seemingly obscure technical issue has proven to be a real obstacle to improving trails all over Alaska, and has led to a backlog of applications and frustrations for both applicants and the State at a time when the need to secure existing and planned trail routes continues to grow. Challenges for reserving trails include limited State staff, high costs for surveys, limited resources by trail advocates, and a limited set of regulatory options for reserving trails. This panel will clarify the issues and then set the stage for near term, practical solutions. Presentation: Reserving Trails on State Lands
B. Establishment of an Alaska 17 (b) Working Group, Discussion and Interest
Section 17 (b) of ANCSA provided for the reservation of public access easements across some private lands in Alaska. Many of these trails are utilized today to gain access for hunting, fishing, and other recreational opportunities on public lands. The location or condition of some of these easements has lead to longstanding issues related to resource degradation, trespass, and confusion for trail users. This segment will examine the idea of establishing a statewide 17 (b) working group and facilitating constructive discussions to work at solving recreational access and trails related issues regarding 17 (b)'s. Presentation: Discussion Points for 17 (b) Easements 2020 Forum
1:00 – 1:45
The Future for Trail Funding
COVID has highlighted the importance of trails. For both mental and physical health, Alaskans have turned to trails for solace during the pandemic. Crowded parking areas, packed trailheads and well worn trails are all in need of maintenance. And land managers are also hoping to add new trails and other facilities that will be an economic engine for the state when health conditions enable the economy to fully open again. This panel will explore several of the funding options that the State can employ to take best advantage of opportunities that will be available in 2021 and years to come.
2:00 – 2:45
COVID Impacts on Trail Work in 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of our lives in very serious ways. Many people are unable to work because of the virus. Many trail managers did not deploy their crews during the 2020 season to avoid spreading the virus and risking public and individual health. Some trail crews were able to successfully complete their work and stay safe. Tune in to hear how they dealt with COVID and how the lessons learned will affect plans for the future, growing trail demand, a renewed focus in AK on outdoor recreation and potential funding related to COVID-19 recovery.
3:00 – 4:00
Trail Project Updates
The Land Manager Forum will wrap up with lightning round summaries of trail projects, policies and issues around the state. We will start off with several agencies who will take no more than three minutes to provide updates on one or more of these three subjects: 1) accomplishments: highlights over the last year 2) looking forward: opportunities or challenges on the horizon 3) trail parables: lessons learned, pitfalls hit or avoidedWe’ll then open the discussion to all our zoom participants, on the same topics and with the same three-minute timeframe. The goal is to generate a helpful summary of what has been happening and what’s coming up in the world of Alaska trails.