Alaska gets $17M for forests, trails

Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009

JUNEAU - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that Alaska will receive $17.2 million in stimulus money for 11 national forests and trail projects.

"The Recovery Act projects we're announcing today are central to creating jobs and building a better, stronger economy in the future," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release Tuesday. "These projects exemplify President Obama's commitment to sustainability, reducing our environmental footprint and increasing energy efficiency, which will benefit the 178 million people who visit the National Forests each year, generate additional tourism activity and stimulate local economies."

A large proportion of Alaska's cut is bound for Southeast through the following grants and projects:

• $3.1 million for public visitor centers in Juneau, the Kenai Peninsula and Ketchikan. Improvements address safety, energy efficiency, audio-visual equipment, interpretive displays and new interpretive movies. The Juneau portion targets the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

• $3.4 million for accessibility improvements for trails in Juneau and the Kenai Peninsula. In Juneau, the award specifically targets the Trail of Time near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

• $1 million for health and safety improvements to trails in Ketchikan and the Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Census Area. Specifically, improvements for 12 miles of trails in the Misty Fiords and Admiralty National Monuments, and access improvements to the Georg Island trail project in the Hoonah Ranger District to provide access to a historic World War II site.

• $1.6 million for trails in and near Sitka, Craig and Petersburg. Workers will install new planks and crushed rock surfacing, add anti-slip tread material, replace failing trail bridges and rebuild failed sections of trail.

• $1.3 million for boardwalk trails in Ketchikan and Wrangell. Workers will install new planks and crushed rock surfacing, add new anti-slip tread material on planks and replace four failing trail bridges.

• $1.5 million for all-terrain vehicle trails in Sitka and Yakutat. On the Sitka Mud Bay trail system, workers will grade, brush, establish drainage and replace failing bridges. Four miles of ATV trails next to the Dangerous River near Yakutat will also be restored.

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