The shovels and pulaskis have been cleaned and tucked away for winter, and now is the time to reflect on KMTA supported community projects within the Heritage Area. Adults and youth put boots to the ground in 2019 throughout the National Heritage Area.
KMTA Funded Programs Included:
- The Student Conservation Association (SCA), which engages a regional youth crew led by two young adult team mentors, tackled a variety of trail maintenance projects throughout Chugach National Forest.
- Alaska Trail Stewards not only organized volunteer trail crews, but also collaborated with partners to create the “Trails Investment Strategy.” Check out the recent article in the Anchorage Daily News.
- Alaska Geographic’s youth crew cut 1324 feet of new trail that leads from the trailhead at Mile 21 off the Seward Highway to the Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT). The long-term goal is to link Victor Creek to Rocky Creek. Alaska Trail Stewards also supported this trail construction.
- Alaska Huts Association completed their Spencer Glacier Hut design, which positions this project to fundraise for hut construction in the Chugach National Forest Glacier Discovery trail system.
- Girdwood Parks and Recreation replaced the California Creek Bridge in early summer, with assistance from local volunteers, Alpine Air, and SCA youth crews. This stout new structure is built to withstand side loading, which was the ultimate downfall of the original bridge. KMTA also funded the purchase of trail tools and equipment, bolstering three work parties and 40 volunteers that brushed trail, installed tread, and landscaped for proper drainage.
Trails tackled were:
- Deb’s Way
- Beaver Pond Trail
- Lower Iditarod NHT
- Upper Iditarod NHT
- Girdwood Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) completed Phase I of a new bike park, installing 0.4 miles of multi-use trail and 0.6 miles of single-use bike trail. These trails were open and in use for the 2019 biking season, and GMBA received positive reviews from the local community.
Communicating about local trails and natural & cultural history of the Heritage Area is a priority for KMTA. The development of several interpretive signs and publications were supported in 2019:
- Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) to check out new Cook Inlet Beluga Whale interpretative signs along their Turnagain Arm Boardwalk.
- Girdwood Bear Aware created and distributed safety publications.
- Beluga Whale Alliance received programmatic support for their Community Interpretation & Citizen Science work, training local volunteers to collect scientific sightings data, educating the public about Cook Inlet’s Beluga Whale population, and increasing partner collaboration to support conservation efforts.
- Alaska State Parks is wrapping up new video trail guides and interpretive panels for hikers along Turnagain Arm.
- Caines Head State Recreation Area is finalizing new cultural interpretative material explaining the significance of the Seward Harbor to the World War II supply line.
KMTA also provides development grants to museums and historical societies within the Heritage Area.
- The City of Seward Museum has been developing a new Iditarod exhibit this summer with a 3D model of dog mushers, and a wall mural of Rainy Pass.
- KMTA supported a coordinator position, maintenance at the Hope Museum, and supported the Hope Historical Society’s refurbishing of the interior of the retired U.S. Forest Service Guard Station, which is now onsite at the Hope Museum grounds.
Want to Learn More About Our Grants?
Since inception of KMTA’s grant program in 2010, we have invested over $1.07 million in local community projects, leveraging approximately $1.9 million through a multitude of volunteer, partner and community support.
Interested in applying for a KMTA Grant? We have transitioned to an Annual Grant Cycle. Requests for applications will open in early January with a submission deadline in early March. For more information visit our grants page or contact Grants Program Manager, Katherine Schake for more information.