The Tsalteshi Trails Association has identified its next set of priorities to include purchasing a snow grooming snowmobile and a permanent outhouse.
The list of priorities also specifies renovating the Moose and Wolf trails, and will hopefully be funded with a $50,000 Recreational Trails Program grant through the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, said Association Maintenance and Operations Manager Bill Holt.
“The community has been pushing for a restroom facility at the Wolverine-Kalifornsky Beach trailhead for a long time,” Holt said. “We decided to apply for the grant last minute when the Rotary Club of Soldotna said they would help with the outhouse project.”
Grants are the association’s main source of funding, Holt said. Much of what work needs to be done on the trails wouldn’t happen with the association’s annual budget alone, he said.
For the application the association had to provide four to five letters of support from local organizations to show the community was interested in receiving the grant. The association sent in nearly a dozen, Holt said.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough, which owns the land the trails system is built on, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education and the City of Soldotna all adopted official resolutions supporting the grant application, Holt said. The Rotary Club of Soldotna and Kenai and Soldotna chambers of commerce also provided letters, he said. The trails host a variety of annual events such as the Youth Ski Program, Tri the Kenai Triathlon, High School Nordic Skiing races and the Salmon Run Series founded by Allison Ostrander, according to the association’s website. The next trails even will be the “T200 Turkey Trot 5k and 10k Run” on Nov. 28, 2014.
“We have needs we need met,” Holt said. “There’s not a lot of other resources besides grants.”
Previously, the association secured a $180,000 grant through the Alaska Trail Initiative sponsored by Sen. Ted Stevens Money from that grant is no longer available and the maximum applicants can request is $50,000 with a 20 percent match through the Recreational Trails Program, he said.
The program will not review applications until December or January. Even then, there will likely not be an agreement made until March, Holt said. The association is not in a “wait and see period,” he said.
As maintenance and operations manager at the trails, Holt said he has a unique perspective on the situation.
“There are enough projects on the trails there that I could be working the rest of my life and not get them all done,” Holt said. “There are a lot of ongoing work we are doing there.”
Reach Kelly Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org