Alaska State Parks Director Jim Stratton announced Thursday that copies of the Alaska Recreational Trails Plan are now available. With only a limited number of copies printed, Stratton urges interested persons to visit the state's new trails Web page at www.alaskatrails.org, where a copy can be reviewed and downloaded.
Plans also may be purchased at the Department of Natural Resources Public Information Centers for $10.
The Alaska Recreational Trails Plan is a statewide overview of trail issues and opportunities that identifies what is needed to protect Alaska's trail network. In addition, it guides trail users and trail managers to funding sources and technical assistance for all aspects of trail acquisition, development and maintenance.
"While Alaska's vast trail network is one of the best in America, it is not permanently protected," Stratton said in a press release. "The biggest threat to our trail network is the lack of easements necessary to perpetuate and protect these trails for future generations. This is true for trails on both public and private land."
The lack of trail easements is just one of several threats to Alaska's recreational trails outlined in the new Alaska Recreational Trails Plan. Working with trail volunteers and organizations around the state, Alaska State Parks developed this plan to not only identify the threats to Alaska's trail system, but also to outline what is necessary for trail protection.
"Alaska is losing a trail network that other states are spending millions of dollars to re-establish. This Trails Plan outlines the actions Alaskans need to take to protect and maintain our existing trail system," Stratton said.
Key to protecting the existing trail system is a trail easement model designed to provide trail liability protection to property owners and trail managers. This is a "fill-in-the- blanks" model for implementing Alaska's new landowner liability law for dedicated trail easements. An explanation of the liability law and the sample language are in the plan.
Another key aspect of the Trails Plan is the recommendation to establish an official Alaska trails system.
"Alaska has many spectacular trails that people felt should be recognized as part of an official Alaska trails system," said state Trails Coordinator Ron Crenshaw. "So in this plan we've presented what it would take to establish that official list of Alaska's top trails."
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For more information, contact Ron Crenshaw by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (907) 269-8704. The DNR Public Information Centers may be reached at 269-8400 in Anchorage.
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