The Alaska Long Trail
From the Camino de Santiago in Spain to the Great Himalayan Trail in Nepal, the Inca Trail in Peru to the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails in the United States, long trails have captured the interest of travelers the world over. With some of the most stunning wilderness in the world, Alaska is overdue in creating a world-class long trail of its own. Long trails engage visitors and residents in a range of activities, from simple day adventures to multi-week, bucket list lifetime accomplishments.
Alaska Trails and its partners are proposing a multi-braid trail system connecting Fairbanks and Seward. The trail system will incorporate a variety of year-round uses (motorized and nonmotorized) along different braids. Many sections of the proposed trail already exist or are currently planned, and the route is almost entirely on public lands, enormously reducing the complexity and cost.
It’s time for Alaska to invest in its future by creating a route that will stand with the other great long trails of the world.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
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The Long Trail concept is fresh and exciting, and we welcome help and ideas in this work.
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WHY LONG TRAILS FOR ECONOMY?
Growing Use & Real Benefits for Businesses & Communities
Three million visitors a year hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail.
Hiking is the fastest growing activity for both air and cruise out-of-state Alaska visitors 2011-16.
$250 Million in increased annual Alaska spending if out-of-state visitors have reasons to add "One More Day” to their trip.
$412 Billion: Outdoor recreation is the “Sleeping Giant of The US Economy,” providing 2.2% of the total US GDP, larger than fishing, farming, forestry, utilities, or telecommunications.
Gateway towns along long trails benefit from more jobs, business opportunities, and tax revenues.
WHY SEWARD TO FAIRBANKS?
Momentum and Landowner Support: largely on public land, a substantial portion (20%) already exists
Manageable Costs: buildable terrain, good access
Community Connections: more jobs, businesses, tax revenues
Multi-Season/Multi-modal: options for summer and winter; options for river and train based connections
Wow Factor: mountains, glaciers, wildlife, honoring and celebrating the long, diverse history of these lands
USE AND USERS
The trail aims to support diverse trail users. Uses on specific trail segments will be determined by the terrain the management policies of individual land owners and agencies. Existing agency policies regarding motorized/non-motorized use for any given trail will not be changed. The ultimate goal is a network of routes accommodating a variety of uses, including some braids open to motorized use, and others for non-motorized hiking, biking and skiing.
© Bob Wick, BLM
WHO IS MAKING IT HAPPEN?
Alaska Trails, a statewide non-profit, is coordinating this ambitious project, working with the Long Trail Coalition (representatives from each region along the route) and local & regional Working Groups, including landowners, residents, businesses, and users. In addition to determining preferred routes and uses, these groups will explore the best long-term solutions for trail maintenance and management.
SELECT NEWS COVERAGE
Alaska’s Path to Better (and Longer) Visitor Experiences, in Alaska Business Magazine
A 500-mile hiking trail across Alaska? Advocates say the pandemic is a perfect time to start, by AK Public Media
Outdoor Recreation is different in Alaska, our Alaska Long Trail will be too, in Alaska Landmine
© Tim Charnon, USFS
© National Park Service, Alaska Region
THE ALASKA LONG TRAIL DELIVERS A BIG PAYOFF
Completing this trail could help get Alaskans back to work during this time when so many people have lost jobs due to the COVID pandemic.
The trail will attract all kinds of travelers, as shown by the fact that “hiking and nature trails” were the fastest growing visitor activities for both cruise and independent travelers in the State’s most recent visitor survey.
Alaska is ready to expand the foundation for a stronger, more enduring Alaskan economy; the Long Trail and other outdoor recreation investments will help grow near and long-term Alaska jobs and Alaskan-owned businesses, while opening new opportunities for those who live here.
© Max Romey Productions