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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!