Trails system maintenance

Question

The trail system used to be maintained each year during the summer. Nice birch chips were added each spring, making the campus trails a popular place for Fairbanks runners and hikers. The last few years, the trails have not been maintained during the summer, leading to very wet areas. Is this due to budget cuts? Is there a way to donate to trail maintenance? As a frequent user, I would be willing to donate, but not sure how. This summer, the trails are so bad, I’ve had to move off my running group off campus.

Response

The trails are maintained during the summer months, but the position responsible for maintenance is off contract from the end of ski season until the first of July. Typically the trails need time to dry out after the snow melts before maintenance can be started, so the contract reduction is not due to budget cuts, just to the nature of the work required. The natural water table in North Campus does appear to be greater than normal this year, which likely is what you are noticing. The trails manager has been placing chips on sections of the Skarland Trail and will continue to do so for the remainder of the summer, in addition to clearing any downed trees and mowing the trails. The trails budget has been cut for the past three years, and if you are a skier you most likely noticed a reduced level of service over the past winter. If you would like to donate to the trails, you can do so by visiting the UA Foundation at https://www.alaska.edu/foundation/ways_to_give/give-now/ and donate to #21256 Ski Trail Maintenance. Thanks.

Kara Axx, North Campus manager