9:00 – 10:15
Innovative Initiatives on Trails
The American Hiking Society engages volunteers for a week of building & maintaining trails in exciting & diverse locations across the country. Volunteer Vacations foster public land stewardship and provide volunteers the opportunity to give back to the trails they love, meet new people, and have a great time doing it! Hear about the program in general and an Alaska volunteer vacation from this past season.
Sitka Trails Works led the development of the landmark 2003 Sitka Trail Plan. The Trail Plan formalized a vision and partnerships that have guided two decades of successful trail development in what could serve as a model for multi-jurisdictional cooperation. The presentation will highlight how stewardship, funding and project management are enhanced by working together between non-profits, government agencies and the private sector – all with an eye toward exposing more users to the benefits of trails and diversifying Sitka’s economy through the creation of new recreation infrastructure.
Volunteer Vacations Presenters:
• Ellie Place - Programs Manager, American Hiking Society
• Sarah Schuh – USFS Seasonal Trail staff
• Shirley Banks – Volunteer Vacations Crew Leader, AK Trails Board Member
Sitka Trail Works Presenters:
• Ben Hughey – Executive Director, Sitka Trail Works
• Haley Johnston - Tongass NF Sustainable Trail Strategy Project Manager, Alaska Trails
10:30 – 12:00
Alaska Long Trail Update – Where we are and what’s next?
Alaska Trails and its partners are working hard on a route connecting Fairbanks and Seward, that would create a route that will stand with the other great long trails of the world. Topics cover in this presentation will include updates on: mapping, planning, funding as well as updates from partners on trail projects along the route. More info HERE.
• Mariyam Medovaya – Alaska Trails Initiative Staff
• Chris Beck – Alaska Trails Initiative Program Coordinator
• Bryant Wright - Fairbanks North Star Borough
• Teresa Floberg - Denali Borough
• Wes Hoskins - Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation
• Beth Nordlund - Anchorage Park Foundation
• Tim Charnon – USFS
• Senator Tom Begich - Update on Long Trail funding options in the state legislature
• Carly Besh - Update from Senator Murkowski’s Office on National Scenic Trail designation
12:15 – 12:45
Lunch Keynote: White Mountain Trails Collective
The White Mountain Trail Collective’s (WMTC) mission is: “To preserve the legacy of trail stewardship in the White Mountains Region by supporting and enhancing sustainable care of our trails.” WMTC was established in 2017 to overcome the challenges found throughout the White Mountains and to unite trail supporters and organizations through a collective impact strategy. Though only three years old, WMTC has raised more than $1,347,000 for trail projects! We want to learn from their success to see how a collective impact organization like WMTC can work in Alaska. Check out the WMTC introductory video HERE.
• Melanie Luce, Executive Director of the White Mountain Trail Collective (WMTC)
1:00 – 2:15
Funding for Trails
With an increasing array of new and existing federal funds available for trail projects, Alaska is poised to take advantage of many programs that will both put people back to work and create enduring trails that will connect people to the places they love.
Infrastructure Bill and Appropriations/Earmarks for trails - Aaron Thiele, Sen. Murkowski staff
Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) Update – Sharon Seim, Wilderness and Trails Program Manager USFS Alaska
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – Ricky Gease, AK State Parks Director
Recreational Trails Program (RTP) – Ricky Gease, AK State Parks Director
ADF&G Hunter Access Program – Katie Sechrist, Access Defense Program ADF&G
SCORP Funding - Mike Downs, Outdoor Planner- NPS-RTCA
2:30 – 4:30
Trail Projects Updates from 2021
There were a lot of great trail projects in the Summer 2021 season and we want to give you a quick look at a small portion of them. Presenters will give a brief snapshot of what they were able to build this summer. We hope the lessons learned can be shared and help us build more and better trails across this great state.
Curry to K'esugi Ridge Connector - Wes Hoskins, Director – Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation
Little O’Malley Peak Trail – Claire LeClair, Board Member – Chugach Park Fund
Iditarod National Historic Trails (INHT) – Southern Trek – Tim Charnon, USFS
Campbell Tract Trail Update – Stolf Short, BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner
Crow Pass Trail Ambassador Program - Karl Boehmer, BLM Intern
DNR Special Land Use Permit for reserving Trail routes - AJ Wait, DNR
Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)
Mike Downs, Outdoor Planner- NPS-RTCA
Mariyam Medovaya – Alaska Trails Initiative Staff
Update on current status, next steps
Audience Participation and Invitation to join SCORP process:
Advocacy – case for investments; emerging priority projects