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MAP: Southcentral Alaska Parks and Recreation

(WYMT)
Published: Jul. 31, 2017 at 5:50 PM AKDT
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(App users, to view the interactive map, follow this

).

Methodology:

Data is sourced from the Parks and Recreation Departments from the Municipality of Anchorage, the City of Kenai, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the City of Palmer and the City of Wasilla.

As such, this map

includes

information on local parks funded by the municipalities, cities and boroughs of Anchorage, Kenai, Mat-Su Valley, Palmer and Wasilla.

This map

excludes

information on state funded parks and information on local trails.

Also note that there are no parks with

zero

total acres. If the acreage data could not be retrieved in time for publication, then the park's acreage was left blank and observed as a "zero."

Story:

The Municipality of Anchorage funds over 225 parks and recreation facilities, in Anchorage

alone

. This does not including the number of Anchorage funded parks that are closer to the Eagle River and Girdwood areas.

Number of park and recreation facilities funded by local governments:

- Eagle River: 30 parks

- Girdwood: 10 parks

- Kenai: 25 parks

- Palmer: 14 parks

- Wasilla: 6 parks

- Matanuska-Susitna Borough: 7 parks

None of these park locations are repeating, and there are 322 park and recreation facilities in total – both managed and funded by local governments.

According to multiple local government Parks and Recreation Department websites, park classifications are based on determining factors, such as park size, service area, maintenance standards, amenities and park performance.

Park classifications may differ slightly among local governments; however, together they can be sorted into eight different categories: Regional, Community, Neighborhood, Mini, Open Space, Natural Resource, Special Use and Sports Complex / Recreation.

Park classifications are also subject to change.

"Some of them might be classified as 'neighborhood use' parks, until the community vision has been established," explains Anchorage's Park Superintendent Josh Durand. "Some of them have not been developed on purpose – to be left as a natural preserve."

Section 36, along Clarks Road in Anchorage, is currently classified as a natural resource park; however, Durand says there is already a plan for what the community wants to do with the land. But there are two main problems preventing this park from undergoing renovations and changing its classification.

"First, there is a lack of funding," says Durand. "Second, half of the park exists outside of the service area, so half of the community does not pay taxes."

Durand says there are other parks similar to Section 36. Moreover, he says this is one reason why voters may see propositions on their ballots that ask to

, from time to time.

The smallest park recorded on this map is Anchorage's Cunningham Park, at 0.05 acres. While the largest park recorded on this map is Anchorage's Far North Bicentennial Park, at 3,626.95 acres.

With so many park and recreational facilities in Southcentral Alaska, use this map to help sort through them all and find a park that best suits your needs.

Or use the map to compare what types of park classifications are more common in some areas, compared to others.

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