Mt. Dewey Trail extension work possible next year

The Mt. Dewey Trail extension project could go to construction next year, including a new trailhead parking area on Bennett Street, just north of U.S. Forest Service offices.

The borough assembly May 11 unanimously approved a $69,542 contract with PND Engineers for scoping work to prepare the project for final design, to be followed by construction. Almost 91% of the cost of the scoping contract will be covered by federal funds, with the borough paying the rest.

"It's nice to have something in the works for more green space," said Assemblymember Ryan Howe.

In addition to a new route up the backside to reach the final stretch of the Mt. Dewey Trail, the project includes a short extension of the Volunteer Park Trail to connect with Ishiyama Drive near the golf course, and a parking area for the Paddle Craft Trail near the beginning of the gravel surface on the Spur Road about a mile and a half down from the golf course.

The Paddle Craft Trail parking area would be located in an old gravel pit nearby, Amber Al-Haddad, capital facilities director, told the assembly. The intent is to give drivers a safer option than parking in the right of way, which is what people do now.

After paying for the scoping work, the borough will have almost $450,000 left from the federal grant and 9% local matching funds to cover design and construction expenses. Wrangell is trying to stretch the budget as much as possible using borough staff, Al-Haddad said in an interview Friday. The Forest Service also is helping with staff hours, she said.

The new route to Mt. Dewey will include about 4,000 feet of trail, Al-Haddad said. A real benefit of the project is parking, she said. "There really is no parking" at the current trailhead behind town. "Everybody parks in the street."

She said the hope is to get the work done next year.

In the language of the federal government, the project is called a "Non-Motorized Transportation System Project." Al-Haddad translated for the assembly: "We like to call it the Mt. Dewey Trail extension."


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