January 5, 2022 Karen Lewis

Girdwood Trail Signs Increase Accessibility to the Outdoors

“Signs are probably the quickest and easiest way to leave the trail user with a positive impression.  If signs are high quality, well maintained, and properly located, other trail problems are often over-looked.  Consistent signs are the quickest way to increase the trail’s identity and the public’s support for the trail.” – National Park Service

The Girdwood Trails Committee has been the recipient of six grants from KMTA.  Three of which included interpretive signs and wayfinding as part of the grant.  The Beaver Pond Trails and Lower Iditarod Trail Signage has already been designed and installed.  Soon there will be signage at the Virgin Creek Falls Trail and Stumpy’s Winter Trail. The consistency of sign design and wayfinding markers throughout a trail system is important to increase the quality of visitor experience. Now a trail user can know what to expect throughout the Girdwood Valley for safety and local interpretation.  These signs are also a treasure trove of historic and natural information, as well, helping the user connect to the trail and location.

“The signs have increased accessibility to the outdoors. As more people access trails since the pandemic began, there are many folks who are now using trails that are not as familiar with the system. It is good for these new users to feel both comfortable with where they are and to know how to get help if they get in trouble,” said Barbara Crews, vice-chair, Girdwood Trails Committee.

The Beaver Pond Trails Signage consists of five signs throughout that trail network. Girdwood Trails Committee is good about partnering with local youth to complete their projects which is part of the KMTA Sustainability Plan.  This project was an Eagle Scout project for a Boy Scout Troop and they helped with a majority of the installation.  This $5,650 grant was matched with $11,455 non federal dollars in cash and in kind donations.  Twenty four volunteers participated in the implementation of the signs.  Partners included the Chugach State Park, Boy Scout Troop 2019 of Anchorage, Girdwood Board of Supervisors, Girdwood’s Fire Chief, and the Municipality of Anchorage-Heritage Land Bank. “KMTA has been a wonderful influence on Girdwood because we now have relevant historical panels in the town center and on our trail system,” said Kate Sandberg, a Girdwood Trails Committee Member.

 We are so happy to partner with the Girdwood Trails Committee to help them continue their good work!