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May 26, 2023 Karen Lewis

Congratulations to the 2023 KMTA Grantees!

Congratulation to this year’s KMTA Sub-Grant Award recipients! We committed $110,000 of our federal funding to community projects that will be completed over the course of the next year.  With an estimated $200,000 in matched non-federal in-kind support, these projects are set to make a significant impact on heritage stewardship and preservation in the KMTA. We are proud to feature these dedicated organizations and individuals below, and their efforts to support the places and people of Alaska’s only National Heritage Area: 

  • The Girdwood Trails Committee (GTC) is a standing committee that advocates for, protects, and maintains trails in Girdwood, Alaska. Due to challenges in finding qualified personnel and adverse weather conditions, Girdwood’s trails need concentrated attention. A KMTA sub-grant will allow GTC to hire a five-person trail crew for three weeks this summer. Matching funds from the GTC, and the Girdwood Valley Service Area will help support this project, which aims to restore and maintain Girdwood’s trails to ensure safety, accessibility, and an enjoyable experience for all users. 

  • Four Valleys Community School (FVCS) is an independent non-profit organization in Girdwood, Alaska that offers educational, cultural, and recreational programs to residents of all ages. They were awarded a sub-grant for their summer Adventure Camps. The camps, now in their 8th year, focus on outdoor exploration and learning about the environment. This year, they plan to expand their programs by incorporating activities such as hiking, biking, visits to natural landmarks, and educational field trips. FVCS emphasizes hands-on experiences, artistic development, environmental awareness, and compassion for all living beings. 
  • Alaska Trails, established in 2003, is dedicated to enhancing the trail experience in Alaska by advocating for trail projects, securing funding, and providing technical assistance. They have expertise in trail development, design, maintenance, safety, and more. Their Alaska Trail Stewards (ATS) volunteer program tackles trail maintenance on public lands, reducing the backlog of work. With the help of a KMTA sub-grant, Alaska Trails will continue to build on its successful partnership with the USFS to coordinate two Alaska Trail Stewards (ATS) volunteer events in the KMTA National Heritage Area. The first event will be on the Iditarod National Historic Trail at Ptarmigan Creek, focusing on reestablishing turnpike sections. At this event, they will also partner with an Alaska Geographic youth crew. The second event will involve brushing and drainage work on the Hope Point trail over the course of two days. The grant will also help fund their Trails Initiative, which involves work on the Alaska Trails’ Statewide Trails Investment Strategy. This strategy document focuses on ways to build on and expand trail infrastructure to help Alaska make the most of our outdoor recreation potential.

  • The Kenaitze Indian Tribe operates tribal facilities in Kenai and have a special partnership with the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR) for the K’Beq’ Interpretive Site in Cooper Landing. The site, which has been closed since 2019 due to the Swan Lake Fire and the COVID-19 pandemic, is undergoing repairs, tree removal, and site enhancements in preparation for reopening in 2024. The tribe’s mission is to ensure the well-being of the Kahtnuht’ana Dena’ina people, and the K’Beq’ site represents their concept of “living in the outdoors.” KMTA sub-grant funding will be used to support improvements, including cabin refurbishment, signage, museum displays, and general grounds maintenance. 


  • The Chugach Regional Resources Commission (CRRC), in collaboration with their subsidiary, the Alutiiq Pride Marine Institute (APMI), will create an educational infographic about the Kenai Peninsula’s intertidal zone through the support of a KMTA sub-grant. This visually captivating piece, featuring artwork by Marissa Amor, will showcase scientific and cultural information, including indigenous names and traditional practices. The infographic will be shared as a pamphlet, displayed as a mural on the APMI building in Seward, and available as a digital resource on www.alutiiqprideak.org

  • Pickle Hill Public Broadcasting, overseen by public radio station KDLL, provides the central Kenai Peninsula with a variety of local news, entertainment, and music programming. Their mission is to provide enriching and trustworthy programming, with a vision of fostering a community of informed critical thinkers. They aim to inform, engage, connect, and entertain their listeners. KMTA’s sub-grant will go towards supporting KDLL in their second year of the Report for America program, which focuses on providing quality community journalism in underserved areas, covering the rural communities of the central Kenai Peninsula, including Cooper Landing, Moose Pass, Crown Point, and Hope, and shedding light on the changes and challenges these areas face. Their reporter helps residents stay informed about projects and decisions that could affect them and assists decision-makers in understanding the concerns of local residents.
  • The Moose Pass Public Library (MPPL), established in 1938, serves the community by providing access to information, promoting literacy, and facilitating lifelong learning. As one of the oldest public libraries in Alaska, it has evolved into a cherished community hub. Through their KMTA sub-grant, they will continue their efforts to collect and preserve historical documents and artifacts related to the early history of Moose Pass. Secondly, MPPL plans to develop a free, interactive, and searchable map displayed on a touch screen kiosk. The map will feature major historical locations and resources in the Moose Pass area, utilizing existing photos and text from KMTA-sponsored projects. The kiosk will be located in the common entryway shared by MPPL and the Moose Pass Sportsmen’s Club community hall, which was rebuilt in 2022 after collapsing in 2020. This space presents an opportunity to enhance the experiences of residents and visitors to the facility, particularly during times when the library is closed.
  • The Cooper Landing Community Club (CLCC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1949 with the goal of serving, promoting, and supporting the residents of Cooper Landing. They act as an umbrella organization for various groups dedicated to enhancing the community. One of these groups is Cooper Landing Trails, which is responsible for grooming ski trails in the winter. With their KMTA sub-grant they will be able to purchase new grooming equipment for their primary ski locations: Russian River Campground, the Quartz Creek area, and near the Devil’s Creek Trailhead.

  • Max Romey, an artist who focuses on creatively capturing the essence of south-central Alaska and inspiring others to connect with its incredible landscapes, history, and community, was awarded a 2023 Publication & Arts sub-grant to help with the production of Trailbound Postcards.  Romey believes that the KMTA corridor holds a wealth of beauty and stories, but many people may struggle to know where to begin or how to share their experiences. These postcards will provide an accessible and engaging way to entice a diverse audience to explore the iconic spaces within the KMTA corridor. They will serve as an introduction, inviting individuals to connect with the area’s natural wonders and providing links to websites, videos, and photos that highlight the community and history that define the corridor. Through this art, Romey will facilitate a deeper appreciation for the hidden gems of south-central Alaska.
  • The Rez Mountain Bike Club has been awarded a Publications & Arts sub-grant to facilitate the creation of “Empowerment in Motion: Backcountry Biking for Girls”, an inspiring documentary film that will showcase the impact of a free 8-week biking program designed for middle school girls in the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area. The film explores themes of mentorship, the strength of an all-girls club, resilience, confidence-building, and environmental stewardship. It highlights the transformative experiences of the girls as they overcome challenges, develop grit, and discover their own potential. By sharing their stories, the film aims to inspire viewers to embrace the program’s values and recognize the power of personal growth and positive change through challenging experiences. It emphasizes the importance of determination, camaraderie, and respect for nature!