APF Awards $400k in Grants to Improve Parks and Trails and Plant More Trees

The Anchorage Park Foundation is proud to announce the 2024 grant recipients of the Community Challenge Grant and Neighborhood Forest Grant programs. We celebrate 23 Anchorage organizations that will receive grant awards totaling $400,000 to improve Anchorage parks, trails, and urban forests!

Funded projects include renovating the recently named Johnny Ellis Rainbow Bridge Park, culturally relevant interpretive signage at Russian Jack Springs Park, trail improvements at Arnold Muldoon Park and Baxter Bog and projects to remove invasives and plant native tree species in multiple locations in north Anchorage neighborhoods.

This year marks the 9th round of Community Challenge Grants awarded by the Foundation with the support of Rasmuson Foundation and Anchorage Parks and Recreation. The 14 grantees must raise 1:1 match of volunteer time and donations. Since its inception in 2005, APF has awarded $2.3 million in funding to 135 community-led projects that have leveraged more than $5.9 million in cash and volunteer match to improve parks and trails.

The Neighborhood Forest Grant is a one-time grant. The nine grantees will work to restore, reforest, and sustain urban trees on public and private land. Funding is provided from the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program through the federal Inflation Reduction Act, an historic investment to grow more trees, remove harmful invasive plants and improve forest health in communities nationwide.

“Spending time outdoors to protect and enhance forests and parks in Anchorage is critical for Alaska’s wild places, and for the health of each of us,” said Beth Nordlund, Executive Director of Anchorage Park Foundation. “Planting trees, building trails and growing food forests are just a few of the projects funded through these grants.”

“We are excited to delve deeper into the rich diversity of native tree species in Alaska. As we collaborate with our community and engage youth in the process, we look forward to nurturing and cultivating trees that are intrinsic to Alaska’s natural landscape,” said Sara Renard, program manager for Alaska Seeds of Change/Alaska Behavioral Health. “Our free apprenticeship program for young people ages 13 to 23 offers an opportunity to share knowledge and help each other succeed. Trees and people need nurturing!”

Organizations receiving awards include Alaska Seeds of Change, Anchorage Disc Golf Association, Anchorage Soil and Water Conservation District, Bike Anchorage, Turnagain Neighbors, Friends of Stream Academy, Catholic Social Services, Government Hill Community Council, Alaska Trails, Castle Heights Park Neighbors, Scenic Foothills Community Council, Nordic Ski Association, Alaska Literacy Program, Chugach Mountain Bike Riders, Friends of Johnny Ellis, Anchorage Downtown Partnership and RVSA – Roadmap to a Vital and Safe Anchorage, Cook Inlet Housing Authority, Citizens Against Noxious Weeds Invading the North, Fairview Community Council, Out North and Bookmobile, Parkdale West Neighbors of Chester Creek Trail.