After a year of planning, Wrangell has completed its long-term sustainable outdoor recreation plan. Since last April, community members have been brainstorming and prioritizing projects that could enhance recreation opportunities for locals and tourists. Organizers are now working with the community to get some of the projects started.
Last year alone, more than 3,000 visitors stopped in Wrangell to check out the sites, hike the trails, or take a jet boat ride up the Stikine River. They joined local residents seeking outdoor recreation opportunities.
A group of community members have spent the past year developing a list of priority projects to expand Wrangell’s outdoor recreation needs.
“A lot of these projects are for quality of life for local residents but they also have to do with economic development.” That’s organizer and Mayor Jeremy Maxand; He says they’ve found youths and adults want to see more trails developed. They also want repairs and enhancements to Wrangell’s existing parks facilities. Projects include a trail linking Volunteer Park and Mt. Dewey, more kayak routes, fixing aging shelters, repairs to Shoemaker Park, and enhancements to the South Mitkof Boat Dock.
“There’s a bunch of projects that made the long list and a bunch that made the short list. We plan on re-grouping once the plan is endorsed by all the signatories and then decide what projects we want to take on right now. Then we will figure out the specific steps we need to take to accomplish those projects,” he says.
Some long-term projects on the list include the development of an ATV Trail system and creating a high ropes course and zipline.
Wrangell’s Economic Development Director Carol Rushmore says now that they’ve developed a plan, they’re working to find community partners to endorse the projects as well as find grants to the fund the projects.
“I think it’s very important that we work together to get these projects funded and completed. It will take the community and people interested in a particular project to push and see it gets done,” she says.
So far Rushmore says project partners include the U.S. Forest Service, The City and Borough of Wrangell, Wrangell Cooperative Association, the Alaska Crossings Program, Alaska Island Community Services, Stikine River Jet Boat Association, Wrangell Public Schools, and Wrangell Medical Center. Rushmore encourages any community groups or individuals to contact her at the city if they’re interested in endorsing a project.