Anchorage is a great place to live and one of the jewels of our city is our trail system. Residents and visitors use our 250 miles of trails year-round. In a recent survey, 95% of Anchorage residents believe our system of trails contributes towards making Anchorage a great place to live.
We are proud to serve on the Board of the Anchorage Park Foundation, a critical partner in the public-private team that builds and maintains our trails. You may think of trails as great feature of our town, but we are writing today because we want you to think about trails in a new way- trails pay social, economic, and health dividends to our community.
TRAILS ARE COMMUNITY BUILDERS
The Anchorage Park Foundation supports trails as a core part of its mission because trails connect neighborhoods, offer connection to the natural environment, and connect the community to each other through place, special events, cultural festivities, recreation and fun. In our town, the trails are part of the city circulatory system and connect us all. Our trails give us a shared identity – we share our greenbelts and vistas, and we agree trails are among the many reasons we call Anchorage home.
TRAILS ARE ECONOMIC ENGINES
Our recent Anchorage poll reveals that 87% of Anchorage adults used the trails last year—among those users the mean number of trail days is 76. The average spending in local businesses trail users is over $700. Trails drive spending and investment and serve as an attraction to prospective residents.
Anchorage attracts a talented workforce. People move to our city to experience a lifestyle that others can only watch on television. Anchorage Economic Development Corporation’s Live.Work.Play. initiative strives to make Anchorage a great place to live so that we continue to attract and retain talented professionals to our community, which feeds innovation and the economy. Additional capital improvements to our trails and greenways only will further attract and retain a talented workforce and businesses to our area, raise property values, and increase recreation-related spending.
As small business owners, we have both faced the challenges of attracting and retaining talent. This isn’t Portland and it isn’t Miami. If you can hire someone who wants to ski or run trails before the workday begins, you found someone who gets what Anchorage has to offer.
TRAILS ARE TOOLS FOR HEALTHY LIFESTYLES
Anchorage has an obesity problem.
Trails are not the only answer to our high levels of ice cream consumption, but they can be part of the path towards health. Sixty-six percent of Anchorage adults would like to use the trails more. We are committed to making trails the most accessible, safe and usable as we possibly can. We know that getting active is easier in a fun and safe environment. That is what we are striving for as we update and repair our trail system.
With a corporate challenge from Rasmuson Foundation, and support from AEDC’s Live.Work.Play. movement, the Anchorage Park Foundation has undertaken the ANCHORAGE TRAILS Initiative. We seek to support the big resurfacing projects, improve safety, connect the system’s missing links, make the system easier to use, and promote trail use for healthy lifestyles. Anchorage Trails is an important project, intent to improve and market our fabulous trail system to residents and visitors, alike.
Get involved in supporting our trail system:
- Vote for Proposition #4 on April 1. $1.5 million for the Chester Creek Trail resurfacing project
- Participate in the Live.Work.Play. ANCHORAGE TRAILS initiative
- Join Trail Watch
- Support Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) soft-surface trail building projects
- Give to the Anchorage Park Foundation and other trail supporting organizations
Ernie Hall is a Board Member of the Anchorage Park Foundation, and the chair of the Anchorage Assembly. Eleanor Andrews is the board chair of the Anchorage Park Foundation and longtime community builder.