The city's Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee is scheduled to consider a proposal Tuesday that would allow commercial bike tours on part of the Kaxdigoowu Heen Trail near Brotherhood Bridge, although the company proposing the tours will likely withdraw its application.
The 2-mile paved trail is popular with runners, bike riders and walkers. According to the proposal from Cycle Alaska, bike tours would use a half-mile of the trail from the Brotherhood Bridge parking lot to the Dimond Park Bridge. The tours then would continue through Dimond Park to Riverside Drive to the Mendenhall Glacier.
The company asked to use the trail at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on weekdays during the tourist season. Groups would average 12 people and not exceed 20. The tours would probably be on the trail for about 5 minutes each time, according to Cycle Alaska.
Commercial groups don't currently use the trail, although buses for commercial float trips park in the state-run parking lot, said city Parks and Recreation Director Kim Kiefer. The Trails Working Group, which spent two years preparing a set of recommendations on commercial trail use in Juneau, didn't recommend Kaxdigoowu Heen for commercial use last year.
When the trail was developed, the Juneau Assembly prohibited commercial use from Montana Creek north. When the Trails Working Group was reviewing local trails, the bridge to Dimond Park hadn't been finished, Kiefer said. The group first focused its attention on allowing commercial use on trails with community buy-in or routes where commercial use already was taking place, she said.
Because not everyone on the Trails Working Group agrees about the trail, Kiefer said earlier this morning she planned to recommend against the commercial bike tours.
"We'll look at it when we review it again in 2004 and see how it compares to other uses and criteria," she said.
After talking to Kiefer late this morning, Cycle Alaska co-owner Joyce Waldman said her company would likely withdraw its application.
"This particular trail really was not part of the trails worked on in the working group and they're not in a position to make a determination, that's a big reason why we're pulling it," she said. "We don't want to inflame things."
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Juneau Assembly Chambers at City Hall downtown. Plans for a new park in Auke Bay also are on the agenda. Public testimony will be accepted at the beginning of the meeting.
Joanna Markell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.