Land may change hands, but city says Tour of Anchorage trail will remain

Published: Apr. 27, 2020 at 10:23 PM AKDT
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The Municipality of Anchorage has been working with the Alaska Sled Dog Racing Association for years on a land trade deal that would put the Tozier Track on Tudor in the hands of the city in exchange for a new section of land.

“They are being surrounded by development,” said Robin Ward, director of the Municipality’s Real Estate Department. “They have looked at our property South of MLK, next to the ball fields for some time as a potential new home.”

The land next to the ball fields is mostly undeveloped, the result of a recreation-only restriction placed on the land years ago by the Far North Bicentennial Park Master Development Plan. That restriction isn’t an issue for ASDRA.

“They are one of the few nonprofits that fit into that category,” Ward said.

There is one issue with the land though — part of Anchorage’s trail system goes through it, and a number of trail-users have raised concerns over the future of those trails if the deal goes through.

“The Tour of Anchorage Trail and the connection between Service and the Coastal Trail would potentially be affected,” said Joey Caterinichio, president of the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage’s board.

A number of NSAA members reached out to the Anchorage Assembly before their last meeting — when the deal was supposed to be voted on — to raise their concerns about it.

“I would say we probably got close to 100 or so individuals that reached out to us,” said Assembly Chair Felix Rivera.

The vote on the deal was delayed, partially because the public comment had been somewhat drowned out by an even greater turnout of people commenting on whether or not to extend the Mayor’s emergency powers.

The vote is now set to happen at the Assembly’s next meeting on Tuesday. Ward said if the vote goes through, the plan is to make sure a trail remains in some form.

“It is a pedestrian, and ski, and multi-use trail easement that will become a permanent easement once the property is conveyed,” she said.

Rivera added that this is the beginning of a much longer public process. If the assembly passes the ordinance, there will still be a lot of negotiation before any land swap officially happens.

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