MGT updates Oct 19, 2015

posted Oct 20, 2015, 1:08 AM by Dot Helm

1. Next meeting Oct 27, 5:30pm, Matanuska Experiment Farm. Room to be announced. We'll revisit the "race" permit application, best methods (web, FB, msg board at trailhead, email) to get information to people as users' needs have changed over the years.

If you're considering putting on an event - or have had good/bad experiences with events, this would be a good meeting to attend to provide feedback. It would be good for anyone to come and provide input for future projects.

We're trying to enhance the user experience for everyone.

2. Just before the main meeting, Oct 27, we will have another Fun with Matanuska Greenbelt Maps session starting at 4:30pm. Room to be announced at Matanuska Exp Farm.  Many people are aware of our main maps, but either don't know about the interactive and other maps or don't realize how they can use them. This is to get people pointed in the right direction. This will be setup with good ol' powerpoint to avoid internet and screen size issues. If you have a smart device with a browser, you might consider bringing that so you can test things. (cell doesn't usually work in these larger buildings, and internet might be slow, so may not work out)

Please let me know if you're thinking of coming to the mapping session. Number of people may help determine what room we use.

3. Mat-Su Transportation Fair. Oct 22, 4-8pm, Menard Center. Great source of information on trails and transportation corridors. That's this Thursday.  "Transportation Corridor" is not only how we get to the trails, but can be a trail experience in itself. Now's the time to provide input, esp. on Glenn Hwy MP 34-42, which includes getting in and out of Mat Lakes SRA as well as non-motorized crossing of Glenn Hwy in Palmer (aka "the tunnel").

4. Signs aren't finished yet. The manufacturer is having some issues.

5. Email list. If you know of someone who thinks they're on our email list, but didn't see this email, please have them send me their email address since we obviously don't have them on our list. There's been a number of changes of ISPs over the past year and not sure I've gotten all of them.

Hope you enjoyed the sun today and have been enjoying the nice fall with great leaf color (well, before they fell).

MGT Updates Sept 5, 2014, CMT Cleanup Day Sept 27

posted Sep 5, 2014, 11:51 PM by Dot Helm

Reminder: Crevasse-Moraine Cleanup Day. September 27, 2014. 10:30am - 2pm. Meet at CMT Trailhead to sign in, pickup trash bags, and get instructions from Landfill staff. This is also National Public Lands Day, so give your trails some loving! We anticipate concentrating on the far end of the Old Well Monitor Road and follow along to the powerline - about a mile hike to the main work area. Here's a way for you to support your trails, and the borough supports the community!

The Landfill will provide trash bags and gloves, so it's important to sign in and get instructions . We just have to fill them and leave them at nearby designated areas, and the Landfill people will pick them up. The Landfill has installed some wind barriers to reduce the amount of trash escaping plus they've been having people clean up the area along the trails, so K-Mart Alley isn't nearly as bad as it has been in the past. But it can still use some help. Kids are great are crawling through the brush. Tall people and those with long trash grabbers (or whatever they're called) can hit the high spots. And lots of medium high stuff. Something for everybody. The Landfill will be providing hotdogs, chips, and cookies to show their appreciation. Yeah!

If you can give us an idea if you or a group are coming, that would help with planning for food. Not required, but it is helpful to know whether there's 10 or 100 coming.

Thanks to all those who stopped by our tables or presentations (Matanuska Greenbelt, MSB Landfill, UAF Farm) at the Alaska Agriculture Appreciation Day in early August. The Landfill people had a really nice map of their operations and the Crevasse-Moraine trails so people don't have to guess how the two maps line up anymore. I gave them our GIS files of those trails, so in planning, they can reduce impacts, if needed. They were also there to answer questions. Currently, there is not expected to be any encroachment for about 10 yrs. When we start having meetings again this fall and winter, we'll try to have the Landfill Manager update everyone on what's happening.

I saw Mat-Su Borough trail crew had brushed Mooseberry Mesa (just right - just enough to improve visibility without looking like a highway), and it looks like they're working on the Fox Trails. Thanks!  Just an aside note on trails outside the MGT, but MSB crew has been weed whacking on a *lot* of trails this summer, which has been really helpful with the vegetation growth this summer. Thanks.

Couple addendums after the above went out as email:
The Landfill people will assess trash and trail condition closer to the Cleanup date and adjust plans accordingly. They may be doing some trailwork also.

On Saturday afternoon Oct 4, Alaska Trapper's Association will hold their annual trapping workshop on Alphabet Field at the Matanuska Experiment Farm.  As in the past they will not be actually setting traps but will be demonstrating proper trap placement.  No traps will be left after the workshop concludes. Trapping is prohibited at the Matanuska Experiment Farm. Signs will be placed at the Matanuska Experiment Farm Trailhead one week before the event to let the public know. (As a side note, trapping *is* allowed in the adjacent Matanuska Lakes SRA.)

MGT Updates Aug 3, 2014

posted Sep 5, 2014, 11:41 PM by Dot Helm

Alaska Agriculture Appreciation Day is Thurs Aug 7, noon to 5pm, at the Matanuska Experiment Farm Trailhead (google maps can give directions). There will be usual games for kids and fun educational booths.

Matanuska Greenbelt will have a table as will the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation, with their new Executive Director, and the Mat-Su Borough Landfill Manager. Landfill manager have a map of their operations with our trails overlaid on them - no more guessing between two different images as to where things are. So this will be a great place to ask questions about MGT trails as well as general.

Trail Beautification Day aka trash pickup day will be Sat Sept 27 meeting at Crevasse-Moraine Trailhead and working out toward K-Mart Alley/Korner. Details are still being worked out, but we expect to start somewhere around 10:30am (give or take 30min) and finish by 2pm. (check our calendar and website as we get closer to date) There will be a bbq!  The Landfill has installed some barriers to reduce the amount of trash blowing out of the landfill AND has had many people working many hours to help pick up trash along K-Mart Alley/ Korner. They've asked volunteers to lend a hand and are making it into a day besides just picking up trash. If we get enough people, we may have some spread out in other areas, but the vast majority of trash is downwind of the Landfill.

Hope to see you at both events.

MGT Updates July 11, 2014

posted Sep 5, 2014, 11:39 PM by Dot Helm

Here's some updates for you on a warm sunny evening.

1. Alaska Agriculture Appreciation Day. Thursday, August 7,  12pm to 5pm. Matanuska Experiment Farm.  Over the years, this event has evolved into a neat collection of natural resource displays and demonstrations but also agricultural and farm life displays / demonstrations. (I don't have a list for this year of who will be there.)  (If you need directions how to get there, search google maps for "Matanuska Experiment Farm Trailhead", and you should find it and get directions. I think I was able to add 4 of the main trailheads to the map.)

Matanuska Greenbelt will have a table. The new Executive Director, Kim Ryals, for Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation will be at their table. The MSB Landfill will also have a table where the Landfill manager will have a map of our trails overlaid on their proposed sequencing (assuming IT can get the different files to speak to each other) and some other new things. If you have questions about what's happening at the Landfill and interactions with trails, this would be a good time to ask. They're trying to use newer technology for some things.

2. We're in the process of semi-formalizing financial arrangements with Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation so that we can accept donations for projects, and get the money to the vendors to purchase materials. We'll be doing some additional Buy a Posts as well as one project.

An assortment of things happened this summer where there was interest in fixing / replacing the bridge/walkway out to the island/peninsula on the north side of Matanuska Lake. The things that came together were the need, some interest in donations (one major donation on its way), and an eagle scout candidate. After we get a budget with vendor quotes, we'll have a better idea if we need more funds for this.

How the selection of a project happens in the future remains to be worked out. Have a list of candidate projects and vote each year and raise funds for it.  This bridge was just an opportunity that we didn't want to let pass.

This is definitely a trial year both for MGT figuring out what we want to do and for the MSTPF working with these funds.

I'm not sure how many post slots will be available, but I'm trying to be sure the people who asked over the last year or two are taken care of first. IF you haven't received an email from me in the last day or two about this AND you asked earlier, please let me know since that means I don't have your name on my list.

3. Trail Beautification Day. Saturday, Sept 27. Meet at Crevasse-Moraine. Time TBD, but probably 10am-2pm range. This will be a day to help pick up the trash primarily along College Connector / K-Mart Alley -between the landfill road and the powerline. The landfill has added some structures to reduce the amount of trash blowing out of the landfill. They've had workers cleaning up some of the area, and it has improved part of that trail section. They've asked if the trail users can help. The day will be more than just pick up trash, but not sure of details yet (probably food). Landfill folks and Parks and Rec are working on this.

4. Race permit applications. The package of DRAFT applications, reports, emergency maps, and explanations are here: Some of this will change as the agencies get more experience with this and get feedback. BUT we recognize that people who may be looking to put on an event next year are doing their homework now. We wanted to be sure they had an idea what type of information is being expected. Some of the information is really needed for safety and was not included in the past.  This is only for events going across more than one property. Please ask if you have questions or offer suggestions. Note that all the .pdf forms are ones that you can type into, save, and email. We can access the data fields to save typing.

Enjoy the trails!

MGT June 2014 updates

posted Sep 5, 2014, 11:33 PM by Dot Helm

1. Congratulations to Mat-Su Convention and Visitor Bureau for the celebration of land purchase for their new visitor center just south of Matanuska Lakes State Rec Area at the south end of the Matanuska Greenbelt. That was a great day last Friday.

2. We've got a number of new people on our list, which we'd like to welcome and provide a brief background of the Matanuska Greenbelt. It's a group of managers and trail users in the area from Mat-Su Borough's Crevasse-Moraine trails through UAA Mat-Su College and UAF Matanuska Farm to Alaska State Parks Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area who've worked together for about 5.5 yr to map and sign the 2000+acres and over 30 miles of trail to enhance trail users' experience in the area. Many fewer lost trail users these days - either that or they never make it back to tell their story.

The area has a general reputation of being one of the most diversified trail systems with most any use that doesn't need an engine - dog walkers, mtn bikers, hikers, equestrians, runners, nordic skiing, orienteering, geocaching, and others - all going different directions and speeds. Plus it's got some great natural and cultural history in the area and surrounded by schools, making it a great place for outdoor education.

Because of the increased use, including for races, the agencies are trying to unify the approach to permitting to be sure they've got accurate and adequate information to manage the area. Any race fees will go back to the trails through the Mat-Su Trails & Parks Foundation. And that's where we are now.

3. We're making progress on the overall permitting process for races, but we aren't there yet. What I did was put some highlights of what we're working on and what to expect on our website at
So if you or anyone you know is considering an event in the Matanuska Greenbelt, esp. if it crosses property boundaries and you're charging a fee, there's the basic information of what you'll need to provide for a permit. The process has been a little rough (ok, a lot rough) around the edges this year, but it is a learning process and should work much better next year. If you have questions, go to the manager of the trailhead where you're considering starting your event, and they can keep you apprised of latest information (changes on a daily basis sometimes). Contact info is on our website.

The single permit makes it easier for RDs instead of 3 permits with different requirements. The more detailed information forces the RDs to think through some things ahead of time - like traffic management and emergency actions. The more detailed information that the managers receive, including post-race reports, provide them better information on how to manage the facilities more effectively for races and other users.

Our calendar will list events so you'll have an idea when things might be crowded or have faster moving  traffic than normal. Trails are open to all users even during events. You can participate, help, or avoid - choice is up to you.

This weekend is the Mr. Miles 24 hours of Alaska running race (starting Sat noon), and next weekend is Tri the Trails. Mon and Wed evenings are SprocKidz mtn bike training.

4. As part of some of the permitting procedures, we should be getting some arrangements in place for donations, but those are still being worked on. Hopefully to get the Buy a Post reactivated for the new trails and some other projects. Right now we're considering trying to put a floating walkway (or some solution) from the mainland to the island/peninsula on north side of Matanuska Lake. (still just an idea) You might want to be thinking of other potential projects that would benefit everyone.

Enjoy the trails!

Gateway Visitor Center Land Purchase Celebration June 6, 2014

posted May 22, 2014, 2:13 AM by Dot Helm

Celebrate with Mat-Su Convention and Visitor Bureau!

Friday, June 6 from 3-5 p.m.

Mile 36 Glenn Hwy (Former Homstead RV site)

Mat-Su CVB is hosting the Gateway Visitor Center Land Purchase Celebration. Come enjoy the breathtaking view from the official site of our future visit

or center. See concept slides of what the Gateway Visitor Center might look like. Meet with our community partners in this exciting project and learn how a new state-of-the-art visitor center will have substantial economic benefits for us all!

How about some live entertainment? We’ve invited the Overby Family Band to come help us celebrate. Enjoy traditional folk music, jug band style, with a slice of Turkey Red’s finest Gateway Celebration cake.

We’re all very pleased to be moving forward on a facility that will have such a positive impact on the Mat-Su Valley. We invite you to come share in the excitement.

Thanks to our exhibiting partners for their support of this project:

  • Alaska State Parks
  • Alaska Department of Fish & Game
  • Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats
  • Chickaloon Village Traditional Council
  • Great Land Trust
  • Matanuska Greenbelt Trails
  • Mat-Su Borough Parks & Recreation

MGT News March 5, 2014

posted Mar 5, 2014, 5:32 PM by Dot Helm   [ updated Mar 5, 2014, 5:32 PM ]

1. Next meeting April 1, 5:30pm, Matanuska Experiment Farm. We will continue our discussion of dealing with multiple kinds of races across property boundaries in a somewhat standard way. We'll have a strawman skeleton to be filled out, modified, or burned. ;)  (see below for summary)

The last meeting of this winter we're aiming for sometime in week of April 14 or 28. Hopefully, the Machetanz teachers will be able to share with us what they've been working on. They came to one of our early meetings this year, then I gave a presentation on our signage program to the three 3rd grade classes back in February.

2. Crevasse-Moraine Trails plan was approved by MSB Assembly on Tues night. Thank you, Assembly, esp. Matthew Beck, district 2 rep. Lazy Mtn and Mat River Park were also approved.

3. Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation is looking for a full-time Executive Director who is a visionary and creative with a passion for trails and parks essential to maintaining healthy communities in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. This is a full time position starting as soon as possible. Spread the word. Deadline is March 21, 4pm.

4. Alaska Trails Statewide Trails Conference is April 24-26 with 2 days of training before then, if interested. These conferences are usually really good with sessions on trail building, advocacy, funding, and other things as well as lots of networking time. This is the place to be to learn about trails in Alaska. Conference will be at APU in Anchorage. More information and registration is here:

5. Nutshell summary of the race discussions to date. Races that have crossed property boundaries have had to file permit applications with all the different land managers and deal with 3 sets of rules, etc. What the managers have decided collectively is to try to standardize this. Many (most?) details need to be worked out, but we're aiming for a single permit app for the area and a 3rd party, like the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation, deal with race fees and deposits.

We're anticipating that fee structures and expectations of the organizers will likely be based on both size of event as well as the size and type of organization. IOW, an event of a small all-volunteer organization with 20-runner 5k would be treated differently than a large for-profit corporation putting on a 500-person event. We're hoping to have a strawman skeleton race app draft by the April 1 meeting and continuing the discussion with both managers and users.

We *started* talking about emergency procedures, including creating another map which indicates what type of vehicle might be most appropriate for extracting injured people. Many areas you can either get very close with a normal vehicle but in most areas, you may need a stretcher to get someone out.

While there's a lot of work to be done yet (we're just starting), this is probably the first major step forward since we started the sign program 5 yr ago. We've got the key administrators discussing things and how to resolve mutual issues in a consistent manner. It's exciting.

Don't forget to check our FB page occasionally since I'll post some updates there when I don't want to email the whole list.

Get out and enjoy the snowy trails!

MGT News Feb 14, 2014

posted Feb 14, 2014, 1:42 AM by Dot Helm   [ updated Feb 14, 2014, 1:43 AM ]

A couple reminders and new announcements that I didn't want to let slide to end of month. Note that sometimes I may only post something to our FB page or Announcement on our website if it's not urgent.

1. Winter Trails Day. Reflections Lake Feb 15, 11am-3pm, put on by Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats.
If you'd like to try xc skis, snowshoes, or ice skates, here's another opportunity to check out equipment and learn from others.

2. Shared Trails: Dog Safety Workshop Feb 17. 7pm, FSM#205 at Mat-Su College. This has to do with trap safety along trails. This looks useful even for your own personal safety, not just your pets. Put on by Alaska Trappers and ADF&G.

3. ADF&G and Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats are putting on Wildlife Wednesdays. Last Wed of month through May, Mat-Su college. 7pm. The presenters for each week are listed in this announcement. These include native history as well as wildlife research. Should be some interesting presentations.

4. Statewide Trails Conference April 24-26 at APU put on by Alaska Trails. These conferences are always really great for learning and networking about trails. Schedule and registration are at

5. Crevasse-Moraine and other master plans are coming before the assembly on March 4.
This is a courtesy notice regarding three recreational master plans that are now moving forward for approval:
The plans have been unanimously approved by the MSB Parks, Recreation, and Trails Advisory Board, and also the Planning Commission.  The final step is the Mat-Su Borough Assembly:
Tuesday, February 18, 2014; INTRODUCTION – (this is not a public hearing, so attending is not necessary).
Tuesday, March 4, 2014:  PUBLIC HEARING  at the New Assembly Chambers at the Mat-Su Borough Building in Palmer (350 E. Dahlia Ave., Palmer)
The meeting starts at 6:00 pm although other issues are on the agenda prior. The agenda and packet will be online:
Public input, support, and testimony are welcome – 3 minutes is allowed per person (please sign-up when you arrive)
Also, feel free to submit comments to your Assembly members by phone, email, or letter:
Thanks again to everyone who provided time and input in support of these draft plans.
Sara Wilson Doyle
Planning & Public Involvement
351 W. Parks Highway, Suite 200
Wasilla, Alaska 99654

6. Trail conditions are likely icy in many places. I've heard the CMT ski trails were groomed (ground the ice up and resurfaced), but have not been out there myself to check them. (Lazy Mtn ski trails were in great shape for running today, so I suspect CMT may be the same.) Feel free to share trail conditions on our FB page.

Get out and enjoy your trails!

Wildlife Wednesdays Free Science Lecture Series

posted Feb 7, 2014, 11:36 PM by Dot Helm   [ updated Feb 7, 2014, 11:41 PM ]

Sponsored by Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats

FEBRUARY - MAY 7:00­8:00pm
Mat-Su College: 8295 College Drive  (off Trunk Road)

February 26
Elder Patricia Wade of Chickaloon Native Village
shares Ahtna history and cultural stories, combining the old ways of storytelling with modern technology to add a new dimension of excitement.

March 26
Fran Seager-Boss, Archeologist
for the Mat-Su Borough will speak about Dena’ina caches at Cottonwood Creek and Goose bay.

April 30
Jonathan Stecyk, PhD, UAA,
will talk about non-native black fish research at the Palmer Hay Flats.
May 28
Todd Rinaldi of ADF&G
will discuss the challenges of balancing a growing moose population amidst the Mat-Su Valley’s persistent human development.
Contact or go to for more information.

Yep, this is at one of our trailheads, so you can use the trails, then listen to some really neat information.


MGT News Jan 31, 2014

posted Jan 31, 2014, 5:57 PM by Dot Helm

Hi all, Glad to see the temperatures are returning a little bit more toward normal, even if snow is a bit on the short side. A few quick announcements.

1. Shared Trails: Dog Safety Workshop

The Department of Fish and Game in Palmer is sponsoring a workshop put on by the Alaska Trapper’s Association at the Mat-Su College on February 17th @7:00pm in FSM#205 to address pet safety on trails.
Dog Safety Workshop 2014:

This workshop is an additional step in the Department’s effort to educate trail users and ensure the safety of pets on trails. The first printing of “Trap Safety for Pet Owners” brochures have been distributed to pet stores and vet clinics in the valley.
Trap Safety for Pet Owners Press Release:

Remember Matanuska Lakes State Rec Area is open to trapping.

This should be a good workshop for anyone to attend since it includes material on recognizing and avoiding traplines. Hope to see you there.

2. New trailhead posters have been installed on all trailheads except Long Lake. This was when the parking lots were water on top of ice. I'll get to Long Lake when I've got time and roads are better (next week, maybe?)

3. Land managers have continued with their meetings focusing on standardizing approaches for trail races in the Matanuska Greenbelt. They will probably have at least one more. It's exciting to see everyone working together for some consistency. We'd like to have an open meeting sometime before summer - probably not until April or so.

Enjoy the trails.

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