Students from Pacific Northern Academy, with their teachers Bruce Hamler (2016-2017), and Sarah Mariner (2017-2018), want to improve walking access to Ruth Arcand Park for the community and the school, as well as improve existing walking trails with interpretive components and wayfinding. Currently, the Northwest corner of the park, by the intersection of Abbott Rd. and Lake Otis Parkway, does not have an established entrance. This area has many nearby residents, schools, and community organizations that would benefit from an entry point that connects to current trails within the Park. Ruth Arcand Park has a fabulous Equestrian Center and riding trails, as well as green spaces wooded with native plants and trees. Improved walking trail conditions, and information about this rich natural wilderness within the city, would enhance public enjoyment of this space.
Landscape architect Elise Huggins (Earthscape) has volunteered to work with the students on the design and implementation of their desired improvements. Students have met with their local community council and other local organizations to share their plans, and they are eager to aid school access to the park so that outdoor learning can be safer and more extensive. In Spring of 2017, the school received a $20,000 Anchorage Park Foundation Challenge Grant to fund their park improvements. We will be working closely with them to implement this project.