Some impressive work done primarily with hand tools and sweat has won national recognition for the Anchorage Hillside Singletrack Trails project, and the volunteers and young folks who made it all happen.
Anchorage Singletrack Advocates started lobbying for and working on a trail system above the Hilltop Ski Area in 2004. Over the summers that followed, they created a maze of trails that has now become one of the community's biggest mountain biking attractions.
The Coalition for Recreational Trails, a federation of national and regional trail-related organizations, this year recognized that with a 2011 Nation Achievement Award.
The achievement award was for "Youth Conservation/Service Corps," according to Lisa Holzapfel, program manager for the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. Singletrack Advocates and Alaska Trails were honored for their success integrating an Anchorage citywide program to employ youth in parks, and for trail-finishing work accomplished by the Student Conservation Association.
With guidance from Singletrack Advocates, the youth crews successfully completed 7.5 miles of hand-tool finish work last year on what is considered to be among the best, if not the best, mountain-bike trail system in the 49th state.
A Park Service flyer illustrates some of that work in progress, and provides a map (PDF) of the entire trail system for those looking to ride. Mountain bikers are reminded, however, that all trails in the Anchorage area are officially closed until June 1 to prevent them from becoming rutted before things dry out.
Contact Craig Medred at craig(at)alaskadispatch.com