A group of skiers make their way along a trail behind Skyview High School, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, at the Black Stone Axe Ridge Warm Up Rally at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

A group of skiers make their way along a trail behind Skyview High School, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, at the Black Stone Axe Ridge Warm Up Rally at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna lends support to Tsalteshi grant request

The trails association recently applied for a grant through the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

The Soldotna City Council formalized their support for efforts by the Tsalteshi Trails Association to secure a state grant for the construction of a storage shed near the trails. The trails association recently applied for a grant through the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation Recreational Trails Program.

In formalizing their support for the grant request, the council cited the value the Tsalteshi Trails network provides to Soldotna residents and visitors, the inadequacy of the group’s existing storage facilities and the scope of maintenance they provide to upkeep the trails. Specifically, the legislation notes that Tsalteshi Trails Association maintains more than 20 kilometers of cross-country ski trails, 5 kilometers of winter multi-use trails and 5.6 kilometers of singletrack.

Those trails, the legislation says, are groomed in the winter and mowed and maintained for running, hiking and biking during the rest of the year with the help of paid and volunteer workers.

“TTA has demonstrated its ability to provide a network of safe and user-friendly trails that offer recreational opportunities to a wide variety of users, of all ages and abilities,” the legislation, which is sponsored by Vice Mayor Lisa Parker, says.

In a memo to the council, Parker noted that Soldotna has financially supported the trails association for more than 11 years.

“Between FY10 and FY15 the city appropriated $10,000.00 annually,” Parker wrote. “Since FY 16 the City has provided $15,000.00 to TTA to support the trails utilized by many area residents.”

If approved, the trails association would use the grant to construct a storage building that would be used to secure Tsalteshi grooming vehicles and equipment throughout the year. The trails association currently stores grooming equipment in the field behind Skyview Middle School. The new building would be located northeast of the school, south of the tennis courts near Sterling Highway

Wednesday’s city council meeting can be viewed on the city’s website at soldotna.org.

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

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