Raven's Roost Cabin is at the end of the 4.2 mile Raven's Trail. Photo/U.S. Forest Service

Raven’s Roost Cabin is at the end of the 4.2 mile Raven’s Trail. Photo/U.S. Forest Service

One of the most popular trails in Petersburg is getting an upgrade starting this week. The U.S. Forest Service is beginning work on the Raven’s Trail. The existing trail begins behind the airport and leads up the mountain to Raven’s Roost cabin. Brad Hunter runs the recreation branch of the Petersburg Ranger District. He told Angela Denning that the project has been in the works for over a decade.

Brad: “For a long time we’ve been working towards the reconstruction of the Raven’s Trail and we finally secured an easement through the multi-ownership lands which includes the Borough, Mental Health Trust, and the Department of Transportation with the State DOT lands and then DNR lands.”
Angela: “Okay, multi-agency negotiations sounds like,”
Brad: “It was a lengthy process. We started it 14 years ago and has finally been completed.”
Angela: “Okay, and what is the goal?”
Brad: “The goal is to eventually reconstruct the entire trail which is four miles long all the way up to the cabin. The lower part of the trail, the first mile is going to be a wide gravel trail that will be easily accessible for everybody to use. The first half-mile is going to be accessible for wheel chair use but of course that helps everybody, you know, people pushing buggy carts, it’ll be great for running, for hiking, dog walkers.”
Angela: “And that area’s kind of muskeggy area right?”
Brad: “It is. We’re relocating the trail. The trail head will move from where it used to be. We’re going to locate it down by the Sandy Beach Park across the Sandy Beach Road.”
Angela: “So, the Raven’s Trail that exists now which is, you know, the mountain trail that goes behind the airport and a lot of people walk their dogs and they know where that is. Then there’s the Sandy Beach Trail which is a ways away. So how does it all connect?”
Brad: “The plan overall is to have the first half mile of gravel trail, it will be wheelchair accessible, it will be eight feet wide. The next half mile will still be that wide and be gravel but unfortunately it has to be steeper grades so it won’t meet the laws as far as the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act]compliance standards but it’s still going to be a pretty easy trail to hike. Then we hit the bottom of the mountain slope where it just becomes too steep even for that type of construction and then it will just be a single track hiker trail from there all the way, the next three miles clear to the cabin.”
Angela: “Which would include some boards…”
Brad: “We actually got survey and design money for that last three miles and this summer we’re going to start that survey and design and that will determine exactly what type of construction it will be. Some of it will probably be rock. Some of it will probably be wood plank.”
Angela: “Are we talking years before the trail, you know, might be fully complete?”
Brad: “In its entirety, it’s very difficult to say. We have funding right now for that first half mile. We also have secured funding for the next half mile, so the first mile of the trail. The next three miles we have funding for the survey and design but none for construction. And it’s anybody’s guess as to when we will get the funding to actually build the last three miles but we’re going to keep pursuing it.”
Angela: “Now, what about the existing trail that’s there, the boards that kind of go through the muskeg, are those going to be removed?”
Brad: “Mm-hmm right. So, the old trail is going to have to be cleaned up and removed.”
Angela: “Alright, well that sounds good. So, will the area around Sandy Beach, will that be accessible by people while the construction’s going on or are there areas where people should avoid at that time?”
Brad: “Thank you for asking that. Yeah, actually the trail, while it’s under construction, the new trail will be closed to the public. So, the old trail, all the way to the cabin still will be open but this new piece will not be available to be walked on.”
Angela: “And do you have a certain time frame? Do you know when it might be open?”
Brad: “It should be completed, the contract for the first half mile should be completed no later than the end of June and it may be even sooner.”
Angela: “Alright, well that’s pretty exciting for people who enjoy trails and hiking around.”
Brad: “I think the town’s going to really enjoy it. I’m looking forward to it being completed.”
Angela: “Alright, well thank you so much.”
Brad: “You bet. Thank you Angela.”

Construction for the first segment of the trail is being funded through the RAC, the Resource Advisory Committee. It’s funding that comes through the Forest Service which is allocated by a local public committee.

The construction contract was awarded to the Reed Brothers Company.