Assembly supports Tsalteshi grant application

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is lending its support to the Tsalteshi Trails Association’s expansion plans.

The trail system, a highly trafficked recreational trail system that occupies a wooded parcel north of Skyview Middle School, has been steadily adding new trails to the area in its approximately two decades of existence.

The nonprofit volunteer board is currently in the process of building a new trail in a parcel south of Isaak Road, across the Sterling Highway from the Central Peninsula Landfill, and this summer carved in new singletrack trails between existing trails on the original parcel north of Skyview.

Assembly member Dale Bagley and Borough Mayor Mike Navarre submitted a resolution of support to the borough assembly for the organizations efforts in applying for a state grant. The grant would go to purchase new mini-trail construction equipment, according to a memo from Bagley and Navarre to the assembly for its Tuesday meeting.

“On five previous occasions the KPB Assembly has endorsed similar grant applications for that organization,” they wrote. “Those efforts were successful and those grants have helped make the Tsalteshi Trails very popular with trail users. School children from across the borough and from other areas of the state often gather at the Tsalteshi Trails for races. The recreational public also uses these trails for hiking, jogging and skiing.”

The grant would be for $50,000, according to the memo. The assembly unanimously approved the resolution at its Tuesday meeting.

The Tsalteshi Trails Association also gained the borough assembly’s support when it applied for a Community Trail Management Agreement to build public trails on a piece of borough land previously set aside as a buffer for Central Peninsula Landfill, in case the landfill needs to expand in the future.

The borough retains ownership of the land and the nonprofit will manage the trail, with the understanding that the borough may need the land in the future. That parcel stretches alongside the Sterling Highway south of Isaak Road and is where the new trails run. Work began in June clearing out some of the wood, and once open, the trails will be open for multiple uses, as compared to the ski-only trails in the main section of Tsalteshi.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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