Skarland Trail System Management Plan
May 2000 (Printed 5/10/2001)
The Skarland Trail System Management Plan was developed by the UAF Trails Club and serves as a resource for the North Campus Subcommittee. North Campus management is directed by the North Campus Area Master Plan and future changes to the trail system will be directed by that plan.
Dedicated to the Memory of Ivar Skarland
A native of Norway, Ivar Skarland was once "an icon" on campus, well-known by almost everyone, and he played a major role in the development of ski trails on campus. The trail system which bears his name also extends up Ballaine Hill north of the campus.
Ivar attended UAF from 1931 to 1935, and went on to obtain his doctorate in anthropology at Harvard. He then returned to teach at UAF until his death in 1965.
Ivar's endurance and athletic ability were legendary. Newly arrived in the Interior in 1930, he wanted to see the backcountry of Denali Park. Grant Pearson, a park ranger at the time, agreed to a friend's request to take Skarland on a trip to Eielson cabin, 60 miles into the park. Pearson met his charge at the train, dismayed at what he saw. Instead of snowshoes, which were customary in those days, Skarland clutched what Pearson described as "some long skinny things." Despite Grant's doubts, off they went. Before long, Skarland's long, graceful strides overtook the Pearson's dog team.
Once they arrived, Skarland, in his thick Norwegian accent, tried to explain to Pearson that he needed "to catch the train at the park entrance tomorrow" for College; that he wanted to go to school. Pearson, skeptical that he understood correctly, tried to dissuade him. But it didn't phase Ivar. Having skied 60 miles in one day on "his boards" , he skied out the next. He was in a hurry. He had to get to school!
--adapted from Jane Parrish,
Respecting Our Routes, a History of the UAF Trails, 1997
1899 - 1965
Arts and Letters Major
UAF Class of 1935
1942 - 1965
UAF Skarland Trail System Management Plan
When we walk,
we naturally go to the fields and woods:
what would become of us,
if we walked only in a garden
or a mall?
--Henry David Thoreau
Just for a moment, imagine the year is 2080. You are in a hot air balloon floating over campus. You look down at the UAF trail system and are absolutely delighted with what you see.
What is it about the trail system that you like so much?
Description of the Area Covered
This plan includes the trails within the area of campus defined by Geist Road on the south, the Parks Highway, Sheep Creek Road, and Miller Hill Road on the west, Yankovitch Road on the north, and Ballaine Road, Farmers Loop, and University Avenue on the east (see Location Map, below).
This plan does not address management of the land adjacent to the trails.