Subcommittee to inventory local trails


March 21, 2019

A new trails subcommittee workshop aims to complete an inventory assessment of trails, consider trespass issues or consider establishment of an easement on paths that cross private properties, maintain and repair community trails and create a schedule for trail maintenance.

The group, established as an offshoot of the Haines Borough Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, derived its objectives from what it found were four high-priority trail tasks they identified in the planning commission’s 2012 comprehensive plan.

Meeting minutes defined the scope to include “all back-country and recreational access arterials--including Haines State Forest roads currently or previously used for logging activities.”

At their first meeting on March 14, the group discussed recruiting walkers, bikers, skiers and other users to assist with a comprehensive assessment.

Committee member Patty Peters volunteered to contact Trail Mix, Juneau’s trail maintenance organization, to provide a checklist for basic inventory. Questions would include: Who are the user groups?; Are there specific hazards?; What is the difficulty level?; Is there private property involved?

“One of the things that (the committee) can do is to figure out what trails are officially recognized and don’t have any issues with them in terms of ownership,” committee member George Figdor said. “It would be useful particularly for visitors to know where to go and maybe have some signage to go along with that.”

Figdor said that developing new trails would help relieve some congestion in the Haines Borough during tourist season. “We just need to have more choices for people,” he said. “On a sunny day, (Mount) Riley’s parking lot is full.”

From 2014 to 2016, resident Pam Randles gathered an unofficial group consisting of local government, businesses and property owners intending to identify and mark trails between the Takshanuk Watershed Council (TWC) property at Jones Point, the ski-hill near Major Road, and connect them to the Chilkat River beach property adjoining Mud Bay Road. Randles said she was unable to complete the project due to an illness, but presented her work to the trails committee on Thursday.

Audience member Carol Tuynman suggested the committee engage the Chilkoot Indian Association in trail development and maintenance.

In December, the borough assembly adopted a resolution to pay proHNS $57,000 for the Portage Cove Trail design including Picture Point, from the harbor to Port Chilkoot cruise ship dock and from the dock to Portage Cove campground.

Earlier last year, the Haines Borough partnered with CIA on a Land and Water Conservation federal grant application for project funding that would connect an ADA-accessible ramp at Tlingit Park to the Harbor Park pavilion, boat launch, sidewalks and Portage Cove Trail.

While the grant is pending until about June, CIA has offered to construct the proHNS-designed portions of the trail.

Committee chair Burl Sheldon said that subcommittee membership won’t be limited to Parks and Recreation committee members, and said he would invite members from the Chilkoot Indian Association (CIA), TWC, State Parks or interested residents.


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