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)

The Wrangell Borough Assembly Tuesday approved a change to this year’s budget to provide matching funds for a local trail project.

Wrangell secured a grant from the Federal Lands Access Program to pay for a Mt. Dewey trail extension. The new trail will connect the existing Mt. Dewey trail to Bennett Street near the Forest Service Visitors’ Center. From there, trail users can easily access the Volunteer Loop Trail.

The assembly budgeted $43,768 for the required 9 percent match. The cost estimate for the trail extension is $484,700.

Wrangell’s contribution is coming from the Commercial Passenger Vessel (CPV) reserve funds, which comes from the state’s cruise ship taxes. The money can only be spent on tourism development.

Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch said Wrangell has enough money for the grant match right now, but the CPV funds can be very unpredictable.

“And I have heard that the state, with the state issues, that they’re just going to keep all the money from now on. So we might not be getting anything in the future,” Jabusch said. “And I think when we did this we had $60,000 in the reserve. So there is money to do this, but there may not be any money in the future in this program.”

The trail extension still needs to be designed. Then it will go out to bid.

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