By Allison Rein
Special to the Turnagain Times
Summer in Girdwood means phenomenal plant growth – enough to completely obscure our trails if we let nature have its way. This summer, Girdwood Parks and Recreation hired a crew through Southeast Alaska Guidance Association (SAGA) for two sessions to try to keep the plants at bay. The crews of young adults brushed out the Beaver Pond and Iditarod Trails in late May and again in early July. Thank you SAGA crewmembers and Girdwood Parks and Recreation staff for a job well done and greatly appreciated by trail users.
The hand tram has been running well this summer. Girdwood Trails Committee volunteers will be tightening the cable so the cart doesn’t continue to hit the terminal floor, and we are investigating alternative haul rope materials to find something that performs better in our environment. Small kiosks at each side of the tram will be installed to help hikers understand how to safely use this exciting ride across Glacier Creek. Information such as “Make sure the cart’s gate is securely closed during and after use” and “400 pound maximum weight in cart” will be displayed.
We’ve found out that if the gate is left open, it may get wedged under the haul rope, which becomes an effective parking brake that’s impossible to disengage if you are on the other side of the creek. Once the kiosks and signs are installed, we will hold a community gathering to celebrate the work accomplished. Stay tuned for more details.
Other Trails Committee activities this summer include work on a Girdwood Trails plan. So far, we have determined the framework for the plan and the guiding principles for creating a network of trails, ranging from primitive routes to paved bike paths throughout Girdwood. We will begin assessing our trails’ current conditions and deciding which trails need improvements, which should be kept status quo and whether additional trails should be constructed. Our goal is to have a public review and validation sometime this winter.
Finally, thank you everyone for your letters of support for the Alyeska Highway Pedestrian Safety Corridor Project. The funding has been secured for this project, yet we may need additional support from you to make sure it doesn’t get stalled amongst DOT’s array of projects.
Girdwood Trails Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the every month (except for July and January) at 7 p.m. in the community room next to the library. Everyone is welcome to tend our trails that make Girdwood special. We’re working to keep it that way.