The Mat Su Department of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is expanding its trail maintenance crew by several positions this year, according to a job announcement on the borough’s web page.
Mark Gronewald with Parks & Rec says the borough has started to prioritize recreational maintenance. Last year was the first year they employed a full-time seasonal trail crew, and it consisted of just 3 people. This year it has expanded to 10 positions, and Gronewald says the increase stems from a desire by the borough to boost access to public lands to improve the quality of life in the valley.[audio:http://ktna.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/1.0trailcrew.mp3|titles=1.0trailcrew]
The crew will be building new trails and upgrading old ones to withstand to weather and by improving drainage to resist erosion and make for easier maintenance. The first project the crews will work on is the Eska Creek Falls trail near Sutton. Last year crews hand-built 1 and a half miles of non-motorized trail.[audio:http://ktna.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2trailcrew.mp3|titles=2trailcrew]
This year the Eska Creek Falls trail plan calls for a re-routing of the existing motorized trail to make it more long-lasting by routing the trail along meandering contours to improve drainage, with the added bonus of a more interesting trail for four-wheelers.
There are a number of other trail maintenance and improvement projects in the Borough that could easily keep the crew busy until October, Gronewald says.[audio:http://ktna.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/3trailcrew.mp3|titles=3trailcrew]
The Parks and Rec crew will hold volunteer training in Willow this spring to share best-practices with the user groups who have taken on maintenance of their local trails.