Photo Credit: Austin Love
The Trans-Alaska Trail project is a partnership between the office of Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (where project planning began in November 2014), Valdez-based economic diversification organization Valdez Adventure Alliance, and collaborators across Alaska and the United States. The team of collaborators continues to grow with each passing month.
A huge cadre of people — agency staff and leadership at Alaska DNR and BLM, GIS techs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, trail experts and consultants in Alaska and throughout the U.S., graphic designers, architects, and more — have lent time and expertise to vet and develop the Trans-Alaska Trail vision. Energized by the vision, all private sector collaborators have worked pro bono.
After 17 months of diligence and hundreds (going on thousands) of hours of work, we’ve determined the Trans-Alaska Trail is viable and merits further investment of effort and resources. In the fall of 2016, we have sought to answer the myriad questions and concerns that produced in the past year and a half . We’re excited to find those answers, continuing on the path forward to solutions, which will require inclusive and collaborative stakeholder work, especially with Alyeska.
Austin and Susan Love
Lee Hart of Valdez Adventure Alliance
The Trans-Alaska Trail team has:
- reviewed state and federal right-of-way leases, Department of Homeland Security regulations, and multiple legal analyses to determine the compatibility of recreation along the right-of-way;
- developed working partnerships with BLM Alaska, BLM leadership in D.C., Alaska DNR, communities and businesses along the trail corridor, local and national outdoor and recreation groups, the national outdoor industry, trail consultants and experts, and the Alaska adventure tourism sector;
- initiated dialogue with Alyeska and discussed a solution-oriented path forward;
- identified, ground-truthed, and photodocumented a 66-mile “pilot segment,” running from Valdez to the Little Tonsina River (mile 63 of the Richardson Highway);
- held an open house in Valdez to broaden community conversation on the Trans-Alaska Trail idea;
- attended the Adventure Travel Association World Summit in Anchorage and Outdoor Industry Association Rendezvous in Denver;
- convened a group of relevant stakeholders of eventual land managers to work in collaboration on the path forward for the Trans-Alaska Trail;
- built roadmaps to understand the federal and state permitting process to make the Trans-Alaska Trail publicly accessible;