Trail Mix vies for $100,000 in grants

Posted: Friday, December 03, 2010

Trail Mix Inc., a local nonprofit trail maintenance group, has applied for two federal grants, administered by the state of Alaska that will aid two future projects: The improvement of the Treadwell Ditch and Peterson Lake trails.

The group is seeking $100,000 in funding and expects the proposal to be approved by early next year. Work is slated for next summer. But Trail Mix Executive Director George Schaff said the grant money is not guaranteed. Many different proposals have been submitted from groups around the state and only so much money available.

"The status is we submitted them and they're in the hopper up at Alaska State Parks, which is the agency that administers the grants," he said. "We've just got word it looks like there were 42 projects submitted totaling about $1.5 million worth of work. There's only about $700,000 available - that's the usual number from one year to the next."

But Schaff said he expects to compete well in the application process, even with the number of proposals already submitted to the state. He also said he expects the decision to be made on the proposals by January. Additional money will become available during the summer for funding on other projects.

"Last year we did really well on the projects we submitted, and this year, with these two projects, we have terrific partnerships with the agencies that manage both of those trails," he said. "The Forest Service has already submitted a lot of money this past summer on improvements to the Peterson Lake Trail. And the City of Juneau also made a big investment in the Treadwell Ditch Trail this year, and that's going to continue on in 2011 as well.

"On top of that, both trails are really highly ranked as high priorities in the Juneau trails plan," he said. "So both projects have a tremendous amount of support from the community and the agencies that manage the trails."

Schaff said the money for the Peterson Lake Trail would be used to improve the first mile of the trail, continuing the work the Forest Service did this year.

"They constructed a lot of turnpike, but they ran out of funding to fill it in with rock," he said. "This would fund the transportation of gravel into that turnpike trail, and also do some improvements to better accommodate skiers and hikers on the part of the trail beginning at the trail head and ending at the bridge."

As for the Treadwell Ditch Trail, Schaff said there is already a significant amount of money submitted by the city for work on the trail this year and next.

"The money the city provided is for bridges," he said. "Once those bridges are done, we're going to use this grant funding to build turnpikes through the really muddy section between Blueberry Hills and Gastineau Meadows."

Trail Mix applied for four grants last year, two of which were approved for improvements on the Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts trails. The group received $50,000 per project but was unable to begin working on the trails last summer.

"The paperwork didn't come through until mid-summer on Mount Juneau, and we actually just got the grant agreement on Mount Roberts about two weeks ago," Schaff said. "So there was no way we could get that worked on this year. Those projects will be happening next summer."

He said the organization hopes to begin work on the Mount Juneau Trail as soon as the snow melts off the mountain, considering the short summer season. He expects to have a window of about two months to complete the work, which is about the same for Mount Roberts. The focus of these projects is to improve the quality of the switchbacks on the Mount Roberts Trail and eliminate the erosion on the Mount Juneau Trail. He said Trail Mix is looking to build switchbacks on the Mount Juneau Trail where sections have become too steep and eroded for safe public use.

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