Other Management Issues
Building and Road Encroachment
Require that bridges or tunnels be used if a new road crosses an existing trail.
What, if anything, should be done to minimize displacement of trails by buildings or other land uses?
Follow a "no net loss" policy where new trails of comparable terrain must be built for each meter of trail lost. Always rebuild any damaged trails and reroute trails around buildings if a building displaces a trail.
A multiple use trail system requires funding from all the users. It is only human nature to expect certain rights if you pay for something. Many skiers donate $100 to $400 per year to help with ski trail maintenance. But at the current time, there is no organization for non-skiers to contribute funds to.
Therefore, this plan recommends starting a "Friends of UAF Trails" organization which could better represent all users. Encourage people to join the Friends of UAF Trails so that pedestrians and other users have a way to contribute to trail maintenance (post email address on tear-off stubs on card stock at each kiosk). Also look for volunteer help from Boy Scouts and other youth groups.
"Buy a Foot of Trail"
Start a "Buy a Foot of Trail" campaign (maybe $25 per foot per year?) with certificate indicating which foot or feet you bought. Sell t-shirts with picture of a trail on the front and a foot on the back and the saying "One foot at a time."
Use of the UAF Trails for Competitions
The UAF trails are not intended to be a "racing system," but under some circumstances, competitive events such as bike, running, and ski races are allowed, depending on the number of people involved in the event and the potential impacts on both the trails and other users.
Events will not be permitted during April and May when the trails are wet nor in periods of heavy rain. All events must observe a "Leave no Trace" rule, including smoothing out any ruts made in the trails.
In requesting a Race Permit, organizers must provide the: proposed date and type of race, which trails would be used, how many entrants are expected, how the safety of "slower" users will be protected, assurance that tracks and trash will be eliminated, and how impacts to the trails will be avoided or mitigated. This information must be submitted to the Chair of the Trails Committee at least 2 weeks prior to the event to obtain written permission and any other requirements.
Educational Use of the Trails
Educational use of the trails by university classes and community groups is strongly encouraged subject to the following guidelines. Educational users are likely to be role models for those in their classes or tours and thus they are strongly encouraged to set an example of responsible use and the "Leave no trace" ethic.
Educational users are asked to clean up all evidence of the event (sand piles, ruts, trash, etc.).
All users are asked to avoid using the trails when they are wet Severe ruts and erosion occurs under such conditions.
In winter, all educational groups must adhere to the requirement of only skis or snowshoes on the skate ski trails and only skis on the groomed classic trails.
If vehicles must be used, they are only allowed on the T-field Road (not on the trails at ANY time).
Who will maintain the trails?
Volunteers will be called upon for things like clean up days. The Society of American Foresters and the Alaska Fire Service personnel can assist in trail clearing and brushing. Facility Services must approve personnel for anything hazardous. Trained personnel only from Athletic Dept. or Nordic Ski Club will be allowed to groom the ski trails.
UAF Ski Week
If winter use of the ski trails is limited to skiing and snowshoeing, we need to make a greater effort to involve new people in skiing on campus. In the 1930s and 40s, 20% of the campus community belonged to the UAF ski club. But for some reason, a smaller percentage of the UAF community appear to be active skiers. Getting more people involved would go a long way to helping them understand why skiers get so upset about holes in the trails.
This plan recommends that we reinstate a major community skiing event on campus, much like the Skiathon once was. It should be in the fall when new students arrive and should focus on the heart of campus, not West Ridge and be open to all comers of any age or ability. We propose calling it UAF Cross-country Ski Week in October, and it would include a ski swap in Patty Gym, a "ski for free" day at Wood Center Rentals, new equipment from local vendors to try out, free lessons, free guided tours of the trails (a 30 minute, hour and 2 hour tour), and in the field next to the SRC, have a warming campfire, free hot dogs and fun ski relays.
Races should include the short and the hilarious as well as longer events. Some of the most exciting skiing races are very short and can be fit into a small area (1 minute multiple lap 2 person relays with team members taking turns skiing 5 laps—tournament format with the 2 fastest teams from each round racing each other in the finals) or obstacle courses.
Fun races that are not contingent on skiing ability are a must. It would be great to get campus dignitaries, including the Chancellor, Provost, and Vice Chancellors to take part in the events.