The Borough invites you to a ribbon cutting ceremony, celebrating our newest park: Talkeetna Lakes Park, on Sept. 2 at 3 p.m. with a three-mile hike around X Lake at 1 p.m.Located two miles south of Talkeetna, the 1,040-acre park surrounds six lakes. The project has been eight years in the making. As part of phase 1, a new trail offers hiking, snow shoeing, mountain biking, and nearby canoeing and fishing. Free use of canoes will be part of the event. The next phase is to develop a world class trail system for Nordic skiing.
In 2006, a trail crew with the International Mountain Biking Association visited the park and tuned up the trail designed by Chris Mannix and Karl Swanson of the Denali Nordic Ski Club.
"It's a much needed and well-used cool trail in a beautiful park," Mannix said. "It was a lot of work. We naively thought it would be easy to build a hiking loop."
The trails and park are largely the creation of Mannix and Swanson. "They put their heart and soul into it," said Pat Owens, Land Management Specialist with the MAT-SU Community Development Dept. "A lot of work in this park was done by the community. That's what's unique about this project. The community is leading the way. It's a nice cooperation," Owens said.
This summer a youth group of the Upper Susitna Soil and Water Conservation District put finishing touches on the trail by cutting and leveling with hand tools. The conservation group also was awarded a $50,000 grant for trails next year.
Owens shepherded the project to completion by helping classify the land, creating a management plan, and identifying funding options. The park has been built by putting small grants together over the years, some $55,000 in grants. Two years ago the trailhead and gravel parking area off Comsat Road were built. Last year, trail designer John Underwood cleared the Lake Loop Trail on a a specialty trail dozer. "His expertise was critical," Mannix said. This summer, floating docks went in.
The park is owned by the Borough and is one of 10 Borough parks. An additional 90 acres of adjoining State-owned land has been selected by the MSB with the intent to add it to the park.