October 31, 2019 – Neighbors from Spenard and the wider Anchorage community gathered to celebrate the grand re-opening of Fish Creek Trail. The community Halloween event was kicked off by a ribbon-cutting to honor project leaders and volunteers and was followed by a family-friendly costumed bike and pedestrian parade. Neighbors came out to trick-or-treat at treat stations along the newly renovated trail.
Major improvements to Fish Creek Trail were completed fall 2019 and included new pavement and four new bridges. Multiple city, state and federal funding sources including a State of Alaska Transportation Alternatives Program grant, Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions (AMATS) grants, and a voter-approved bond comprised the bulk of the three-year $5 million trail project. The Anchorage Park Foundation leveraged a legislative grant, a private neighborhood donation, and through the support of the Rasmuson Foundation, provided matching funds for a Community Challenge Grant project and Park Fix it an event for previous improvements at nearby Barbara Street Park and at Kiwanis Fish Creek Park.
Safe trails are critical for linking people to parks and other daily destinations, providing transportation alternatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health.
Fish Creek, known as Ch’atanaltsegh in Shem Pete’s Alaska: The Territory of the Upper Cook Inlet Dena’ina, was until recently home to salmon runs. Community members, – in partnership with city and state planners and engineers – are working to restore the creek and its anadromous fish runs. The Anchorage 2040 Land Use Plan and a resolution passed by the Anchorage Assembly in 2018 encourages greenway-supported development that incorporates natural open spaces, creek corridors and pedestrian routes for daylighting Fish Creek. Project visioning includes building an adjacent multi-use path similar to those along Chester Creek, Ship Creek, Campbell Creek and the Coast. Among the groups partnering to connect Fish Creek from Midtown Cuddy Pond to Cook Inlet are the Alaska Department of Transportation, AMATS, the Municipality of Anchorage (Parks and Recreation and Project Management and Engineering departments), the Alaska Railroad, the Spenard Community Council, and Friends of Fish Creek.