Clarion File photo
Kenai’s Josh Foster races in the boys relay at the Kenai Peninsula Borough nordic ski meet at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna in 2019.

Clarion File photo Kenai’s Josh Foster races in the boys relay at the Kenai Peninsula Borough nordic ski meet at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna in 2019.

10-year lease extension granted to Tsalteshi Trails Association

This is the second time that the lease has been extended.

Tsalteshi trails are sticking around for at least another 10 years following the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s approval of a 10-year lease agreement extension with the Tsalteshi Trails Association (TTA).

The assembly approved the extension of the lease, which was set to expire at the end of this month, at its Dec. 1 meeting. This is the second time that the lease has been extended since the borough first entered into a lease agreement with TTA in 1999.

In a letter to the assembly, Tsalteshi Trails Association Board of Directors Chair Mark Beeson described improvements that have been made since the lease was last extended and advocated for another lease extension.

“We believe the current lease agreement has worked well for both parties and request another 10-year extension so that we may continue to provide a venue for healthy, human-powered outdoor recreation for the central Kenai Peninsula, free to use for all ages and ability levels,” Beeson wrote. “We hope to continue this level of service for many years to come.”

According to Beeson’s letter, TTA is required to have a title or lease of the land on which work is performed in order to receive trail grants. Since their last lease extension in 2010, TTA has implemented $692,000 in federal Recreational Trails Program grant funds for improvements.

Improvements made include adding lights for nighttime trail use, retrofitting existing lights with LED instruments, adding 7.5 kilometers of ski trails and adding 5 kilometers of single-track bike trails. Additionally, TTA constructed an outhouse at the Wolverine Trailhead and expanded the parking lot, added kiosks and signage upgrades throughout the trails and made other general trail improvements. These include widening trails, upgrading drainage and removing hazard trees, among others.

In a memo to the assembly, Kenai Peninsula Borough Land Management Officer Marcus Mueller recommended the extension of the agreement.

“TTA has demonstrated its ability to provide high quality management and desirable improvement to the trail system which provides numerous public benefits as well as important infrastructure for school district athletic programs,” Mueller wrote. “TTA has kept the current lease in good standing.”

The Tsalteshi Ski Trail network features more than 25 ski trails located adjacent to Skyview Middle School, off Sterling Highway. More information about TTA, including maps of the trail network, can be found at https://www.tsalteshi.org/.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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