trails

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include additional comments. 

Cooper Landing has a long history as a trapping area — besides mining, it was one of the reasons people settled there in the first place. But in recent years, it’s also become a major recreation destination. Trails verge off into the mountains all around the town, and hikers, runners, skiers and bikers like to hit the trails year-round. Many of them also love to bring their dogs along.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Money for a 500-mile Alaska Long Trail will likely be included in the Alaska Legislature’s budget this year.

The nonprofit Alaska Trails Initiative came up with the idea for a multi-use trail between Seward and Fairbanks last year and has been trying to find money for it since. 

On Wednesday, Sitka Republican Sen. Bert Stedman and Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski sponsored an amendment to the Senate’s version of the budget to set aside $13 million for the project.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Trappers and recreationists have long been at odds over trapping restrictions in Cooper Landing.

Tensions came to a head several years ago when the Alaska Board of Game quashed a proposal to ban trailside trapping, citing a lack of compromise between activists on either side.

Now, several Cooper Landing residents are reigniting the conversation. They’ve surveyed locals on where they’d like to see trapping setbacks and will use the data to craft a proposal for the Board of Game and the Federal Subsistence Management Board.

The Alaska Long Trail is a proposal to create a continuous, 500-mile hiking route from Seward to Fairbanks, linking together existing trails and creating  new ones. This project would also link together grassroots efforts and organizations, namely, Alaska Trails, and land managers, including the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. On this week’s Kenai Conversation, we hear about what it would take to create the Alaska Long Trail and to create partnerships to maintain existing trails throughout the state.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Three trailheads are better than one. At least that’s the guiding philosophy behind the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge’s new Ski Hill Road Multi-Use Trail, which opened to the public Saturday.

The trail winds through the woods between the Sterling Highway and Ski Hill Road in Soldotna, covering a bit over a mile and a half on an 8-foot path. It’s accessible from three points — on the south side of Ski Hill Road, near Skyview Middle School; on the north end of that road, near Spenard Building Supply; and at the refuge’s visitor’s center.

 


Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Hikers: Just because daylight is increasing and snow is receding, that does not mean every trail is ready for foot traffic. The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is asking people to stay off trails during breakup that sustained damage in last year’s Swan Lake Fire.

 

Hikers around Cooper Landing may soon see some new signs that are really aimed at trappers. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran spoke with Lorraine Temple about the Cooper Landing Safe Trails initiative that hopes to bring some change to winter recreation in the area.

 


KDLL Adventure Talks offers a virtual hike of the Kenai Peninsula’s newest long-distance backpacking route, the Tutka Backdoor Trail, with trail coordinator Bretwood “Hig” Higman, of Ground Truth Trekking in Seldovia, and Eric Clarke, with Kachemak Bay State Park. In the on-air interview, host Jenny Neyman talks with Hig and Eric about how and why the trail came to be. They also discuss sustainable trail building and the little things hikers can do to make a big difference in maintaining their favorite trails.