Tsalteshi Trails continues to grow with the addition of a new singletrack trail section.
Currently, work is being done to improve the original singletrack trail, the Mosquito Trail, and then a new trail will be roughed in. The addition of the new singletrack is a facet of an overall plan to connect the Tsalteshi system to the new, multiuse trail system on Isaak Road, on which work began earlier this summer.
“(The singletrack) will be about a mile of trail, a looped trail,” Bill Holt, Tsalteshi Trails maintenance manager, said. “It’s beneath the Coyote and Lynx trails, weaseled in between those and the Goat. It will be looped into the section we had built so we can turn the whole section in the Bear trail area into a loop.”
The work will complete the Tsalteshi singletrack project which began in earnest last year.
“The board decided that we wanted to go ahead and, instead of spending lots of time working on the old trail, we decided to go ahead and build some new trails,” Holt said.
Work on the trails started earlier this week and is being run by Happy Trails, Inc., a Fairbanks-based company that has worked on trails throughout Fairbanks and in Kincaid Park in Anchorage.
“They’re all about building sustainable trails, durable trails that are going to last,” Holt said.
The work is funded by Recreational Trails Program, which had some remaining funds from last year.
“We were expecting to spend it all last year, but because of the weather we didn’t get as much done as we wanted to,” Holt said.
Although Happy Trails Inc. will complete a good majority of the work, volunteers are needed to help put in the trails.
“If people would like to help, we have tools and if you’re interested in the singletrack and can do manual labor you can help,” said Mark Beeson of Beemun’s Bike and Ski Loft in Soldotna and a Tsalteshi Trails Association board member.
Any interested volunteers should contact Tsalteshi Trails through their Facebook page or by calling Beemun’s at 262-1234.
The addition to the singletrack trails is a move by Tsalteshi to continue to meet the needs of the evolving recreational culture on the Kenai Peninsula and beyond.
“Trails are in a state of evolution across the country,” Holt said. “Bikes have entered and become this really big deal, with mountain biking evolving a lot over the last few years to include flow trails and bike parks. All this stuff has created a lot of energy for bikes and, of course, Alaska has the addition of the fat bike thing too. … There are all these combined forces going into making these trails.”
So, with the addition of the new trails, the association is taking into account skiing, mountain biking, fat biking, cyclocross and more. They are also envisioning the bigger picture and how to incorporate the new trails near Isaak Road, which are being built as a fully multiuse trail system.
“The main idea is to make this a corridor, to make it bikeable as a way to get bikes to our new trail system on Isaak Road and have quite a few versions of technical things to satisfy everyone,” Holt said. “I would really like to build something that everybody really likes, but you can’t quite do that. So, the idea is to convince them that they like it.”