Matanuska-Susitna Borough

$390K to Trail Lights, thanks Mat-Su Health

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough will receive $390,000 from the Mat-Su Health Foundation for Nordic trail lighting at the Government Peak Recreation Area near Hatcher Pass.

The great news was delivered recently during the Sockeye fire disaster.

The grant will light 2.5 miles of trails including: Pioneer Loop, the Stadium, and Matanuska Loop.

The LED lights on the trail will enhance trail safety and help reduce unexpected moose encounters. In winter, residents have been skiing by headlamp until 8 pm when the gates close. Lighted trails are expected to increase the trail users by threefold, including youth ski team members and adults who work 8am to 5 pm.  Some 300 young skiers on the Mat-Su Jr. Nordics team will be learning to ski on well-lighted trails as early as next winter. This dead-of-winter exercise will add years to the lives of hundreds of Mat-Su workers and grit to the childhood of many Mat-Su youth.

The attraction drives up spending at local businesses. Several hundred spectators are already drawn to each regional ski event at Government Peak.

“Funding this project is so forward-looking, thank you Mat-Su Health Foundation,” said Mat-Su Borough Manager John Moosey. “Your gift is investing in our health, our amenities, our economy. Government Peak is already shaping up to be the statewide winter recreation destination.”

The Mat-Su Health Foundation grant joins recent funding for the project by the Rasmuson Foundation $9,934 for trails & $190,066 for chalet fire protection and kitchen upgrades. The Borough funded $175,000 to the Government Peak trails, and $225,000 to the chalet project in 2014. The Fishhook Community Council joined the effort by contributing $20,000 to the chalet.

Other recent developments at Government Peak include:

The paving of the 1-mile access road, Mountain Trails Drive, and the parking lot.

Last summer two non-profit recreation groups began building mountain bike trails and an equestrian trail.

Attached is a map of the preliminary lighting plan, showing the 2.5 miles of trails that will have lighting installed. Because we may be too deep into the construction season already, the trail lighting project is likely to be finished next summer. Rain in August may slow the progress.

Public Affairs wrote the grant. For more information call Patty Sullivan, Public Affairs Director, Mat-Su Borough at 861-8577.