The East End Trails have undergone a make over.
The trail, located in East Kenai Park, is three-quarters of a mile long and meanders through the back woods that border the Kenai Golf Course.
Bob Frates, director of the Kenai Parks and Recreation Department, said the trail has been established for some time, but because of the lack of a trail head, it has not always been recognized.
"We had a good thing going, it just needed improving," Frates said.
The Parks and Recreation Commission decided to move the exercise equipment from the Bernie Huss Memorial Fitness Trail in downtown Kenai to the East End Trails, with input from the Huss family, Frates said.
He said the equipment was continually vandalized at Bernie Huss and said he believed that behavior was less likely to continue in the new location.
Through cooperation with Phillips Petroleum Company and AA Dan's Construction, both of Nikiski, a new trail head was established at East End Park.
Keith Farris, maintenance supervision with Phillips, said the company donated $15,000 for the project. The company, which operates the liquefied natural gas plant in Nikiski, helped install the equipment, as well as created 200 more yards of trail to extend and connect the existing paths. They also purchased new signs, distance markers and constructed sand pads for the exercise equipment.
The signs have been ordered and should be installed within a few weeks. They will help make the trail more user friendly, he said.
Frates said future plans also include having a map of the entire trail system and making a portion handicap assessable.
Farris said creating the trail head cleaned up the trail area and made it more assessable.
"Hopefully it will get more use from the community," he said.
All equipment was removed from Bernie Huss, and pieces were placed near the East End trail head within three weeks of their removal.
"A relatively quick move," Frates said.
The pieces include stretching equipment, a chin-up bar and a sit-up bench.
Other equipment will be added in phase two, Frates said, possibly to another loop of the trail next year. Frates said phase two depends on the traffic and use of the existing equipment.
Frates said the trails have been used mostly by neighborhood residents and by cross-country skiers in the winter. But by creating a new trail head, more use hopefully will be an outcome of the project.
"It is a spectacular trail," he said. "Trails are important to any community."
Kenai City Council member Pat Porter said the improvements to the trail have made a difference.
"I think it is wonderful," she said.
She said she uses the trails often and they are easier to walk on, wider and clean.
The project topic came before the council at the beginning of the summer, Porter said, and the council unanimously agreed with the idea.
Porter said since the changes and installation of the trail head, she has seen more people making use of the trails.
Phillips tries to help area communities each year with similar projects. Johnnie Bea, a Phillips spokesperson, said past projects include Jason Peterson Memorial Ice Rink in Nikiski and the Swiftwater project at the Swift-water campgrounds in Soldotna.
Farris thanked Bea and other Phillips employees Rick McGahan and Greg Bartlett for their help in the project.
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