The Chugach Park Fund was established in 2016 to enable Alaskans of all abilities to experience the beauty of Chugach State Park by enhancing trails, signs, and facilities. The Fund will achieve this mission by helping increase stewardship through philanthropy and partnerships.
South Fork Is Going To Happen!
Thanks to the Rasmuson Foundation, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Subaru of America Inc., Athletic Brewing Company, and many other generous donors, the Chugach Park Fund is contracting to reconstruct the second half of the South Fork of Eagle River Trail, about three miles and $158,000 of work. As the photo shows, the last three miles of the South Fork trail are frequently muddy, braided, and in places, need minor realignments to firmer ground. The plan is to build a sustainable, dry trail with proper drainage and slope this summer—the result: a trail that is more accessible to Alaskans and our visitors.
We’ll also fund brushing work along the gas line between Prospect Heights trailhead and the Upper O’Malley trailhead, wrap up the last 200 yards of the Rabbit Lake brushing, and look at fixing trouble spots elsewhere in the park. We continue to seek donations with a goal of $230,000 in 2023.
What’s on the horizon? We have plenty of opportunities with 265 miles of trail in Chugach State Park and very little State of Alaska funding for maintenance or improvements! Tentative plans include 2024 work on a short, muddy section of the Hidden Lake trail just beyond the German Bridge, wet sections of the Williwaw Lakes trail, and other state park priorities. Your contributions, and those of our community business and non-profit partners, will help this work happen.
The Chugach Park Fund focused its 2022 trail improvement efforts in Chugach State Park on one major drainage project on the Rabbit Lake Trail and brushing projects — cutting back the multi-year growth of alders and other vegetation that made many trails dangerously narrow and challenging to navigate. In addition, the Fund put effort into addressing drainage issues on several trails.
Brushing work, both by paid trail crews and volunteers, on the Rabbit Lake Trail and several Anchorage Hillside Trails began in the Fall of 2021. It continued throughout 2022 in those areas and on Penguin Creek and Eklutna Lakeside Trail.
Funding for the brushing and drainage work was jump-started by a grant from Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s Outdoors Fund and contributions by many individual donors. Additional funding will be needed to address a large backlog of this work in the park.
In 2022, we secured a $115,000 Rasmuson Foundation matching grant to 2023’s work on the South Fork of Eagle River trail and a $30,000 match from ConocoPhillips Alaska.
Chugach Park Fund also received donations from several other generous sponsors in 2022: GCI, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, Northrim Bank, Northern Skies Federal Credit Union, Matson, Chugiak Eagle River Foundation, Skinny Raven, Moose’s Tooth/Beartooth/Broken Tooth, Pursuit, Costco, Families Assisting Families and the Erin K. Johnson Fund, as well as scores of individual donors. To all, Thank You!
2021 – Little O’Malley Peak Trail – Phase Two
Access to alpine landscapes is one of the primary reasons why Chugach State Park hosts over a million visits annually. The Little O’Malley Peak trail leads hikers to a sizeable alpine area called “The Ballfield,” located at the base of O’Malley Peak. For more than 30 years, a steep and treacherous route went up the O’Malley gully.
The Chugach Park Fund raised more than $100,000 in private donations to supplement federal funds to support on-the-ground construction work by Alaska Trails and volunteers. In 2021 and 2020 (marking Chugach State Park’s 50th anniversary), a new 1.5-mile trail to the Ball Field was built at a sustainable grade. By the fall of 2021, the new trail had already become a popular hike in the Chugach front country with its gradual ascent and well-planned drainage. The erosion-prone and unsightly gully route will be abandoned.
For 2021, the Fund was pleased to have received grants from GCI, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, and the Atwood Foundation and grateful for the generosity of Marianne Holman, Genevieve, Jean Pierre, and Andre Rosay in memory of Melanie Rosay. The Little O’Malley project was also made possible by a grant from the Basic Needs grant program of The Alaska Community Foundation and the efforts of the Anchorage Petroleum Women’s Association.
2020 – Little O’Malley Peak Trail – Phase One Completed
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Chugach State Park, the Chugach Park Fund led the effort to re-route the Little O’Malley Peak trail. During the pandemic, the project had to be done entirely by Alaska Trails crews without the anticipated volunteer labor. CARES Act funding helped in the effort to complete Phase One (the switchbacks pictured above). Achieving this goal was possible with the help of businesses, community organizations, and individuals who care deeply about improving trails in Chugach State Park for this and future generations. The new trail provides a welcome addition to the outdoor options important to Alaskans during COVID-19.
Rasmuson Foundation, Marcia Bandy, GCI, and many individual donors have generously provided funds. The Chugach Park Fund was also selected as the non-profit partner of the Anchorage Petroleum Women’s Association. Construction began on June 1.
The Chugach Park Fund has provided support to the park for several other projects, including:
- New interpretive sign at Flattop Sunnyside trailhead
- Avalanche warning signs as part of an Eagle Scout project
- Middle Fork Trail improvements
Want to Learn More? If you have questions or wish to discuss our projects in more detail, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.