trail design workshop

Participants in a trail design workshop in Wrangell use clinometer devices to measure the grade of the terrain. (Photo courtesy of Amber Al-Haddad)

Trail planning consultants came to Wrangell this month to help Parks and Recreation staff move forward with the community’s Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Plan.

That plan identified new trails as a priority for Wrangell. The trail design training came as a grant from the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

Wrangell Parks and Recreation Director Amber Al-Haddad said Parks and Rec staff and some U.S. Forest Service personnel participated in the week-long training.

“We had one day of classroom instruction, which reviewed trail purpose, use and trail limits, trail construction and maintenance, and design specifications. After that, we spent four days in the field, where we were actually using those techniques we learned in the classroom, laying out the trail corridors that we had on our conceptual trail plan,” Al-Haddad said.

Al-Haddad said the wet conditions in Southeast Alaska make it difficult to build trails.

“Using our best information on how to build trails in this kind of climate with the terrain we have and the ecosystem we’re moving through, we were shooting grade, taking distances, and marking that route,” Al-Haddad said.

The group flagged a few different routes. But Al-Haddad said the focus will be on building a Mt. Dewey trail extension first, because that section is more likely to receive funding.

“It will lead from a point existing on the trail along the northeast side of Mt. Dewey and connect over to Bennett Street, and ultimately lead us to the Forest Service visitor center,” Al-Haddad said.

Other proposed trails would connect Mt. Dewey to Petroglyph Beach and provide new access points for Volunteer Loop Trail.

Parks and Rec has been providing trail progress updates to the Wrangell Borough Assembly and the Planning and Zoning Commission. Next steps include securing funding and holding public meetings to review the trail plans.