KMTA’s Development Manager will focus on two primary objectives:
1) leading the administration of our Community Based Grants Program
2) supporting the cultivation of new donors to advance our impact
For our Grants Program, this includes preparing and maintaining all grant documents and records, promoting the program within the NHA communities, facilitating the evaluation and scoring of grant applications, issuing grant agreements, checking-in routinely with grant recipients, and managing grant reporting and reimbursement after projects are complete.
As it relates to broader fundraising support, you will be responsible for helping create and manage our prospect pipeline, drafting and designing a variety of high-quality donor communications, crafting strategic meeting prep materials, and managing data inputs/outputs to track progress to goals.
This is a year-round, hourly position with an anticipated average of 20-30 hours/week. The scope and salary of this role will be reviewed at least annually, and has potential to increase in hours depending on need and available funding.
The Development Manager will primarily work from home although travel to meetings throughout the Heritage Area may be required. Weekend and evening work may also be required; preference for applicants who live in or near one of the Heritage Area communities of Girdwood, Seward, Whittier, Hope, Cooper Landing, or Moose Pass.
The position is funded by the National Heritage Area Program and may alter due to circumstances surrounding funding.
Compensation is $27/hour; benefits include 6 paid holidays, paid-time off, Simple IRA with 3% company match, and a technology equipment stipend.
For a full job description please click below. Deadline to apply is May 17th, 2022.
Come celebrate the beauty of the Spencer Glacier Area and the history of the Alaska Railroad History by racing the Spencer Glacier Overlook Trail which retraces the glacier recession over the last 100 years.
Take the Alaska Railroad to the starting line of the race! The cost of your ticket is included in your race registration fee.
All participants must depart from the Portage Train Depot (Mile 80.3 of the Seward Highway – Look for the small red-roofed building adjacent to the Seward Highway with a large parking lot; the railroad tracks are visible on the opposite, north side of the parking lot.)
Saturday, June 4th – Train departs the Portage Railroad Depot at 1:25 PM. Be at the train station at 1:15 PM. Participants that choose to go the day before will receive their tickets at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop the day of the race.
Sunday, June 5th – Train departs the Portage Railroad Depot at 1:25 PM. Be at the train station by 12:45 PM to receive your ticket and bib from a race greeter.
Sunday, June 5th – Train departs from the Spencer Whistle Stop at 4:45 PM. Be at the train stop by 4:30 PM
All train tickets and travel will be coordinated by KMTA. Questions can be directed to Karen Lewis at email@example.com. Do not contact the Alaska Railroad.
If you would like to have family members accompany you please let us know in the registration form and we will contact you to arrange tickets and payment. All family member tickets will be at the full price of $82 for adults and $41 for youth under 12.
BIB/TRAIN TICKET PICK UP
All Participants will park at the Portage Train Depot, Arriving at 12:45 PM to get Bibs.
Bib Pick-Up will take place at the Portage Depot on June 4th (If participants are overnighting at Spencer Glacier ) or June 5th.
If leaving on the June 4th train please go to the Portage Depot to see a Chugach Adventures/KMTA representative for your bib packet. If departing on June 5th a Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm NHA representative will give you your bib packet.
$101 ($41 discounted train ticket plus $60 race registration fee)
The race is capped at a maximum of 75 participants.
No refunds will be given.
The start of the race is only accessible by riding on the Alaska Railroad. The course will begin at the Spencer Whistle Stop of the Alaska Railroad and follow the Spencer Glacier Trail to Spencer Lake. From Spencer Lake participants will run the Spencer Glacier Overlook to the end of the trail and then turn around and race back to the Chugach Adventures Base Camp located at the boat launch for a total of 5 Miles.
There is a 3:45 PM cutoff for the turnaround at the end of the trail (which is 1.5 Miles from the boat launch). All participants must be to the boat launch by 4 PM.
To return to the Whistle Spot participants may walk back to the Whistle Stop or wait for a shuttle provided by Chugach Adventures.
Race Participants run by a view of Spencer Glacier
All Participants will arrive at the Spencer Whistle Stop courtesy of the Alaska Railroad’s Glacier Discovery Train between 1:50 PM to 2 PM.
2:25 PM – One WAVE (ALL 60 Participants) NOTE: Wave start time will be determined by the arrival time of the Glacier Discovery Train to the Spencer Whistle Train Stop. Race will commence approximately 25 minutes after arrival of the train to allow all Ranger led hikers, public hikers/campers to clear the area.
The Spencer 5M Dash is open to all participants over the age of 16. If you have a youth that would also like to participate please contact us.
Parking will be available at the Portage Depot at Mile 80.3 of the Seward Highway.
KEEPING US SAFE
The race is being held in bear country so carrying bear spray is recommended!
Before the Race:
– All Participants will follow AK Railroad Policies upon boarding the Glacier Discovery Train at 1:25 PM.
During the Race:
– Public Hikers will be provided the “Right of Way” and 6 Feet of Separation between all Public will be required.
– Announce passing (“on your left”, “on your right”) and take a wide berth if feasible.
– No aid will be provided; participants must bring all their own food and drink.
– Volunteers at the turnaround checkpoint will track runners.
– Basic First Aid kits available at turnaround checkpoint and from sweepers for each race.
Trailbound Alaska– a KMTA grant-funded film– debuted at the end of March to two sold out shows at the Bear Tooth Theater. The theme of trails was prevalent throughout the evening in both Trailbound Alaska and its accompanying featured films: Carol Seppilu’sKilgaaqu and Lucy Bartholomew’s Running Out. All showcased the power of trails and how they have the power to connect us in amazing ways.
The Trailbound Alaska documentary is the brainchild of filmmaker Max Romey, who set out to retrace the Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT) in the summer of 2020 with a pair of running shoes and a sketchbook. The film follows Max and his friends on their journey to run the “Southern Trek,” an incomplete 120-mile section of the INHT that travels through the Chugach National Forest. The local group of runners who took on this challenge with Max include: Denali Strabel (a top 5 finisher in Mt. Marathon races), Lars Arneson (a competitive runner and paraglider), and Eve Van Dommelen (Max’s wife and anti-hunger advocate). Starting at Mile Zero in Seward, the runners adventure over mountain passes, through raging gorges, and impassable terrain, to go from Seward to Girdwood in a four-day push.
“For so many years, I failed to recognize the KMTA corridor beyond it being a highway on my way to Seward for Mt. Marathon,” explained Romey. “But after spending just a little time exploring, it has opened up an entirely new world for me. Between the history and landscapes and the ways the trails connect the two, you could spend an entire lifetime discovering this area and not get tired of it.”
Also present for the evening was one of KMTA’s partners Alaska Trails, who recently fundraised over $42,000 throughtheir partnership with Turnagain Training and its Race Across Alaska campaign. Organized by Turnagain Training owner and coach Heather Helzer, the Race Across Alaska Winter Challenge follows a completely virtual format where racers choose to log miles that equate to select point-to-point distances across Alaska. For example, the longest route option at 2000 miles is the equivalent distance from Deadhorse to Ketchikan. The shortest virtual route of 125 miles equates to traveling the distance from Anchorage to Seward. The proceeds from the race will support the efforts to make the Alaska Long Trail a reality. This visionary goal would connect and expand access to Alaska’s outdoor spaces for so many people, which is ultimately what Max Romey hopes to bring awareness to through this production.
“We are excited to continue planning new trails and connecting the existing trails in the KMTA area. Some of the spots where Max and his friends were hoping to see bridges in the movie really do have bridges there now!” Said Steve Cleary, the Executive Director of Alaska Trails.
We are so excited to be co-hosting a Max Romey film night with Alaska Trails on March 28th and 29th at the Bear Tooth.
Join us and director Max Romey for an evening of fresh films on the power of trails from Anchorage to Australia and back. Whether it’s traveling from Seward to Anchorage by foot, traveling across the hot Australian outback, or running every road from Nome, trails have the power to connect us in amazing ways. This showcase will take you from a misguided attempt following the Southern Trek of the historic Iditarod Trail, to traveling across the outback with ultra runner Lucy Barthlomu, then back to Alaska again with Carol Seppilu on her journey to travel the three roads from Nome on foot.
Connect with the community, help support Alaska Trails and KMTA and stay for the Q&A with door prizes following the films.
Check out the trailer for Trailbound Alaska: A Night of Films for the Trails that Bring Us Together, grab your tickets, and we’ll see you there!
Amanda Sassi heads out to ski on the Devil’s Creek Nordic Loop
When driving through the variable roads between Turnagain Pass and Kenai Lake, you could likely zoom past the Devil’s Creek Trailhead. There are brown Forest Service signs that direct you toward the turn, but I inevitably miss it half the time. It is a worthy stop, about halfway between Anchorage and Kenai or Seward, to get outside and stretch the legs. I used to stop year round because there is a nice outhouse and the Devil’s Creek Trail allows for a nice walk. Sometimes I’d bring my classic skis for a swift downhill to the first major bridge on Devil’s Creek Trail, about a mile in, and a subtle uphill to warm back up for the continued drive. The pull out is also large and tucked away to enjoy a little privacy from the highway unlike the pull offs around the Summit Lake area.
Last year that beloved trailhead parking area began hosting a more refined experience for those outdoor enthusiasts traveling through the area. The Cooper Landing Nordic Ski Club has secured the use of a defunct US Forest Service timber cutting area that ended in 2018 to groom and maintain winter trails. It is a fun two loop system that travels through a gate at the back of the parking lot and down a single lane road to the cut zone. The trail then meanders through bare and papery birch trees leftover from the cutting and gives sweeping views of the Kenai Mountains along the Seward Highway. It seems like a good place for wildlife viewing and the tree cutting may have been to promote moose habitat in the area.
The Cooper Landing Nordic Ski Club started in 2009 “with an aim to improve winter recreation opportunities around the Upper Kenai” according to their website. It is a volunteer run organization full of passionate people looking to create an outdoor experience for many user groups and people of all ages. They have grown to over 15 miles of groomed Nordic skiing including the areas of Russian River Campground, the end of Quartz Creek Road, and the Devil’s Creek Trailhead. Depending on the snow, they set classic tracks and groom wide enough for skate skiing when possible.
At this time all modes of travel are allowed on their groomed trails including; classic and skate skiing, skijoring, snowshoeing, fat tire biking, walking, and dog walking. The grooming report webpage has great information about the conditions and some education to help folks understand how to use the trails sustainably and conscientiously for other trail users . Good trail etiquette includes the following practices:
Think before you sink
Non-skier traffic please stay to one side of the trail
Devil’s Creek Nordic Loop Map
Downhill skiers have right of way
Pick up your dog’s poop
Avoid freshly groomed trails for a couple hours while they set up
The two loops are similar: one is long and narrow at 2.3 miles (yellow) and the other is short and stout at 2 miles (orange). At the back of the 2.3 mile trail is a quick and swift downhill. The total climb and descent for the longer trail is about 180 vertical feet, not all in one go, it’s more of a rolling trail. The 2 mile trail shortcuts the longer one with an exhilarating downhill before a short climb back to the trail alignment. The shorter trail has a total of 130 vertical feet up and down. Jim, from the Seward Ranger District, felt that when going counter clockwise, the uphill does not feel like it is the same amount of climbing as descending, it is so gradual. Both trails brought me great joy, beautiful weather, and stunning scenery as I traveled to and from Kenai in early February.
The Cooper Landing Nordic Ski Club is supported through membership and brings these opportunities to the public free of charge. You can choose your own adventure en route depending on the conditions by visiting the grooming report.
Skiing Community Comes to Girdwood for the Inaugural KMTA Classic
On Sunday, February 27th the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area (KMTA) partnered with Girdwood Nordic Ski Club (GNSC) to bring together the skiing community for a family friendly event at the Girdwood 5K Nordic Loop. The inaugural KMTA Classic drew 89 competitors to the trail, including four adorable 4-year-olds and some tough Alaskan ladies with children on their backs.
The KMTA Classic was an all-age event including some 4-year-olds.
After a hard freeze and a fresh groom, the sun broke through the misty morning chill, brightening the day and the festivities. The surprisingly warm conditions may have actually given an advantage to those who brought their scaled skis when climbing the Nordic Loop’s many hills, and that led to a few kick wax mishaps for others.
The event consisted of three races: a 2K, a timed 5K and a 2x2x2 relay. Race starts were staggered throughout the course of the afternoon starting, and boasted a rich array of skiers. Anna Darnell came in first for the women’s division of the 5K with a time of 16 minutes and 57 seconds, while Ari Endestad took first for the men’s with a time of 14 minutes and 11 seconds. They each took home a $100 gift certificate and lift tickets to Alyeska Resort. Prizes were awarded to winners of all the events and included gift cards to Powder Hound Ski, Girdwood Brewery, and The Bake Shop. All participants received a free ice cream cone from the Ice Cream Shop in Girdwood and a KMTA Classic sticker. Many specially-branded GNSC wool socks were also handed out to racers, because who doesn’t need more wool socks to help us Alaskans keep our toes warm through all our winter adventures!
The Classic Celebrates the History of the 5K Nordic Loop
The KMTA Classic celebrated the history of the race loop and its users. The GNSC, with the support of a KMTA grant, is actually creating interpretive signs for the 5K Nordic Loop that highlight the l
egacy of the 1969 Junior National Ski Race and the 10K trail that was constructed for it and maintained for a decade thereafter. This trail– the first recreational-purpose trail built in Girdwood– helped bring tourism and ski racing to Alaska. In fact, the 1969 Junior National Ski Race was the first national race held by the Nordic Ski Club of Alaska. The remarkable Shirley Firth from Inuvik championed that race and, unbeknownst to many, went on to become one of the first Indigenous women to compete in international ski racing, eventually as an Olympian. The Nordic 5K Loop we know and love today is actually built over a portion of that historic 10K trail, and boasts small handmade signs hidden throughout the forest that show the original route.
Thank You to All Who Made This Possible
Deb Essex, race director of the KMTA Classic and Amanda Sassi take a moment to smile for the camera.
Events like the KMTA Classic help grow appreciation for the trail systems available in the heritage area. “These kids love the Girdwood trails, and will most likely grow up to be trail advocates and lifelong skiers.” said founding GNSC member and race coordinator Deb Essex. Access to these trails and the opportunity to host events like this would not be possible without the incredible support of the Girdwood community and its many dedicated volunteers. “The next generation of volunteers and history buffs are discovering why this is so important, and they don’t even know it yet.”
The race proceeds will help KMTA and GNSC further their respective missions. KMTA works to promote, protect, and preserve the natural and historic landscape of the region ranging from Hope to Seward, Cooper Landing to Girdwood. The GNSC’s goal is to create a world-class Nordic and Multi-Use trail system within the Girdwood valley for year round-enjoyment.
We look forward to partnering with each other for another KMTA Classic in spring of 2023.
The final race results can be found here. Pictures from the event can be found on our Facebook page.
Students at the new version of Anchorage Outdoor School.
The past year included some new events including the Spencer Dash 5k, the KMTA Trail Challenge, and an updated version of Anchorage Outdoor School Week, and we saw the return of the Mineshaft Grinder after a year hiatus. We also awarded 15 grants and saw the promotion of 16 grant projects.
We look forward to another year of building and strengthening partnerships, serving our communities, and preserving our corridor’s rich history.
Check out our short and sweet (it’s only 4 pages!) annual report by clicking below.
Check out our short and sweet (it’s only 4 pages!) annual report by downloading below.
Calling all Nordic skiers! We are thrilled to announce the inaugural KMTA Classic, a family friendly classic ski race on the 5k Nordic Loop in Girdwood, AK. Co-hosted by KMTA and the Girdwood Nordic Ski Club, this event will celebrate the joy of Nordic skiing and the rich history of the region. Join us on February 27th for some fun in the snow! All proceeds will go to benefit the Girdwood Nordic Ski Club and Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area.
Short and sweet!
5k Timed Course:
Start at the kiosk and follow the trail past the first cut off, take the next cut off to loop back to the kiosk for a victorious finish!
Race may be shortened if there is inclement weather that makes parts of the course dangerous.
2 skiers ski two laps which are 2k each lap.
Skier 1 skis the 2k, tags skier 2.
Skier 2 skis the 2k, tags skier 1.
Skier 1 skis the 2k, tags skier 2.
Skier 2 skis the 2k and crosses the finish line!
RACE FEES & REGISTRATION
Only pay once per person and participate in 1, 2, or all 3 events. Registration fees below:
Youth 13-18: $15
Youth 12 and under: Free
No refunds are available.
Online Registration ends at 6 PM on February 26th. On-site registration will be available the morning of the race at 11 AM.
The event will start at 12pm with the 2K race, followed by the 5K Race and then Relays.
BIB PICK UP
Bib pick up will be open at 10am on Race Day and be located right next to the 5K parking area at the end of Arlberg Road.
PRIZES AND GIVEAWAYS
Thank you to all our donors for their awesome prizes and giveaways”
Alyeska Resort gift certificates, ski lift passes and a gift basket!
The Bake Shop gift certificates
The Ice Cream Shop gift certificates
The Powder Hound gift certificates
DIRECTIONS AND PARKING
The 5K Nordic loop is 45 minutes from Anchorage and right next to Alyeska Resort. Park at the paved Arlberg parking lot located at the end of Arlberg Road. This is a new road so it might not show up on older GPS units. Alternative parking is available in Parking Lot A, where you can then walk/ski to the Nordic Trailhead. You can find out more information about the trail and the location here and here.
Spectators, please join the fun on your skis and cheer at the finish or along the course! Space for standing will be limited near the start and in these pandemic times, being a ski length away can give others comfort and healthy distance. Thanks for coming to support your Nordic community!
One of KMTA’s greatest privileges is helping local partners bring the colorful histories of our heritage area communities to life. The Girdwood Nordic Ski Club (GNSC) is one such partner working to create interpretive signs for the 5K Nordic Loop through support from a KMTA grant. The goal of these interpretive signs is to highlight the legacy of the 1969 Junior National Ski Race and the 10K trail that was constructed for it and maintained for a decade thereafter. This trail– the first recreational-purpose trail built in Girdwood– helped bring tourism and ski racing to Alaska. In fact, the 1969 Junior National Ski Race was the first national race held by the Nordic Ski Club of Alaska. The remarkable Shirley Firth from Inuvik championed that race and, unbeknownst to many, went on to become one of the first Indigenous women to compete in international ski racing, eventually as an Olympian.
The Nordic 5K Loop we know and love today is actually built over a portion of that historic 10K trail, and boasts small handmade signs hidden throughout the forest that show the original route. The KMTA Classic will celebrate the significance of this place, its users, and its storied heritage.
FUNDRAISER FOR THE KMTA NHA
Race proceeds will benefit the Girdwood Nordic Ski Club and KMTA’s efforts to recognize, preserve, and interpret the historic, scenic, natural resources, and cultural landscape of the KMTA historic transportation corridor through our various community heritage programs.
KMTA deeply appreciates the leadership of our co-host the Girdwood Nordic Ski Club in developing and maintaining a world class Nordic trail system in the Girdwood Valley, and encouraging responsible use through advocacy, education and stewardship.
Max Romey watches as the sun begins to set in Seward, sharing a glimpse of the watercolor scene he just created.
“Trailbound Alaska”, a KMTA grant funded film is finally ready to debut at the Bear Tooth this spring. The documentary is the brainchild of filmmaker Max Romey. In the summer of 2020, “Trailbound Alaska”, a grassroots film project, set off to retrace the Iditarod National Historic Trail with a pair of running shoes and a sketchbook. It shares the journey of the “Southern Trek,” an incomplete 120-mile section that travels through the Chugach National Forest. Starting at Mile Zero in Seward, a group of local runners including Denali Strabel, ( a top 5 finisher in the mulitple Mt. Marathon races), Lars Arneson (a competitive runner and paraglider), Eve Van Dommelen (Max’s wife and anti-hunger advocate), and Max Romey adventure over mountain passes, through raging gorges, and impassable terrain, to go from Seward to Girdwood in a four-day push
Eve Van Dommelen films Max Romey, Lars Arneson, and Denali Strabel just before they start the Southern Trek journey at Mile 0 of the Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT) in Seward.
“For so many years, I failed to recognize the KMTA corridor beyond it being a highway on my way to Seward for Mount Marathon. But, after spending just a little time exploring, it has opened up an entirely new world for me. Between the history and landscapes and the ways the trails connect the two, you could spend an entire lifetime discovering this area and not get tired of it.” Romey said.
The “Trailbound Alaska” films utilize a combination of documentary-style footage, personal interviews, and watercolor sketches. The Southern Trek film will blend a complex range of topics found within the KMTA corridor to share a big picture of the area while also including personal narratives.
Lars, Max, Denali, and Eric Strabel (Denali’s husband) take a quick break along the Primrose Trail, a segment of the INHT.
“Trails are a gateway into one of the most interesting and diverse landscapes I have ever experienced. They are a pathway both into an unbelievable setting and history that I had not known about prior. After exploring just a piece of it now, I cannot wait to continue to explore this region.”
“Trailbound Alaska” was accepted and shown at five film festivals and was the keynote at three events, including a presentation to the Alaska Wilderness League. “The interactions, especially the local ones, have been really rewarding and have started some great conversations. One of my favorite parts has been updating people on how the trail is growing and changing with the new bridges and sections that have been added. It’s great to have this little snapshot into where the trails was in 2020 as it will become a fascinating time capsule for years to come, capturing what has changed and what has stayed the same”
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