Trailing along

Posted: Friday, June 04, 2004

A nationwide celebration of hiking and trails will again come to the Kenai Peninsula this year in the form of a nine-mile hike through some of the area's most scenic wilderness.

National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the nation's trails system, will be commemorated on the peninsula this year with a hike through the Chugach National Forest along the Resurrection Pass Trail to Juneau Falls.

The event is being sponsored by the Alaska Center for the Environment, Sierra Club Alaska Chapter and the Anchorage Audubon Society. According to the Sierra Club's Forest Conservation Organizer Katherine Polan, the hike is a way to increase awareness of the wilderness opportunities available in the forest.

"It's just a big event to raise awareness about trails, hikes and getting outdoors," Polan said Thursday. In addition, Polan said the Juneau Falls hike is a way to get people talking about issues facing the Chugach National Forest, including threats posed by things like road construction in the area.

"It's an opportunity to get our members to go on a hike and talk about issues in the area," she said.


A Steller's jay eyes hikers on the Gull Rock Trail, also near Hope.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Last year's Trails Day hike also followed the 4.5 mile route from Cooper Landing to Juneau Falls that this year's route will take. Polan said the hike last year helped increase people's awareness of a proposed highway construction route through the area that was eventually abandoned by highway planners.

"Because of that awareness, that alternative has been taken out of the picture," Polan said.

In addition to discussions about the environment and political issues facing the forest, Polan said the hike will feature discussion about birds in the area and how people can live in harmony with the area's large bear populations. Polan stressed that the main reason for the hike, however, is for people to simply get out and enjoy all that the peninsula's trails have to offer.

"It's primarily to get out and enjoy the wilderness," she said.

The Juneau Falls hike is rated as easy to moderate, and is approximately nine miles round trip. Anyone interested in participating should show up at 10 a.m. Saturday at the trail head near Cooper Landing at Mile 53.2 of the Sterling Highway. Participants should bring lunch, water and appropriate hiking clothes and footwear.

In addition, the Seward Ranger District of the Chugach National Forest is hosting a work project on Resurrection Pass Saturday.

The public is invited to join members of the Arctic Bicycle Club's Touring Division, Peninsula Bike Club and other volunteers to help maintain drainage structures on the first three miles of the Resurrection Trail. Participants will meet at 10 a.m. at the trail head and are asked to bring work gloves, eye protection, work boots and a sack lunch. Supervision, tools, hard hats, sports drinks and snacks will be provided. Campsites also will be provided at the Russian River Campground today and Saturday for out-of-town participants.

For more information, call Irene at 288-3178 ext. 119.

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