Kodiak Daily Mirror - Borough parks board will review trails plan this week
  
Borough parks board will review trails plan this week
by Wes Hanna / whanna@kodiakdailymirror.com
Sep 12, 2011 | 41 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KODIAK — It will be a milestone moment for the volunteer committee that advises the borough government on recreational issues.

This week, they review the final draft of the Kodiak Road System Trails Master Plan, beginning a process that likely will lead to adoption of the plan by the borough assembly.

The document details recreational trails and pathways and plans for future improvements, both within the city of Kodiak and throughout the road system.

The idea of a trails master plan predates the borough Parks and Recreation committee and goes back to an ATV trail stakeholder committee formed in 2002 to deal with trail conflicts and ATV use.

Over the years, the trails master plan has incorporated GPS work and trail user surveys to map trail locations.

Parks and Recreation committee chairman Mike Sirofchuck said he read all the comments that had been submitted in the 90-day comment period that ended Sept. 1. Based on those comments, the final plan up for review by the committee at its meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday in the borough building is pretty much the same as it appeared in the draft, he said.

“Most people seem pretty happy with it,” Sirofchuck said. “We really haven’t had any major criticism that I’ve noticed in the comments, so I think we should be ready to finally move this thing up the ladder.”

He said the goal when the Parks and Recreation committee meets is to talk about the plan and hopefully approve it then.

The plan would then move to the borough Planning and Zoning Commission for a public hearing. That group could send it to the assembly for a further public hearing and final approval.

“We’re hopping to get it to the assembly before the end of the year,” Sirofchuck said.

Borough community development director Bud Cassidy said at the outset of the comment period that part of the reason for the master trails plan was to maintain the public’s access to recreation areas.

“The (Parks and Recreation) committee is really involved in future demands for recreation,” Cassidy said. “They’re also concerned with the lack of access on private lands. They want to institutionalize where trails are at so if there are any things like subdivisions, the trails are really going to be part of that subdivision so we don’t miss the opportunity to recreate on public lands.”

He also said another reason behind having a master trails plan was to be able to apply for grant money to make trail improvements as they are outlined in the plan.

“There’s a fair amount of grant money out there,” Cassidy said. “That’s really one of the driving forces behind this whole planning effort.”

Grants could be used to harden trails, improve trailheads or provide trail kiosks and signage, among other things.

“One of the primary goals of this document is to maintain the trail access we all enjoy right now,” Sirofchuck said at the beginning of the comment period. Maintaining that access also means not limiting any of the groups that enjoy a particular trail. The purpose of the trail master plan is to not limit access, he said.

“We’ve also tried to identify additional possibilities for trails and recreation in the future,” Sirofchuck said.

Community development department associate planner Duane Dvorak said the trails master plan will not be adopted and then kept on a shelf. Rather, it can keep the discussion about trails and trail improvements going through annual or biannual meetings.

“The plan provides a framework going forward,” Dvorak said. “(It says) how to continue to address what is an evolving, dynamic situation. The trails that are the priorities now, that need the work now, probably won’t be the same trails that are priorities or need work in the future. At some point they’ll reach a manageable and sustainable status.”

Contact Mirror writer Wes Hanna at whanna@kodiakdailymirror.com.
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