Construction of the new raised boardwalk arm of Hungry Point Trail was completed this week by Petersburg Indian Association. Photo/Angela Denning

Petersburg Indian Association finished construction on a new portion of Hungry Point Trail this week. As Angela Denning reports, there are several more transportation projects that the tribe has planned.

The Hungry Point Trail runs across the muskeg near the Petersburg ball fields. It connects Sandy Beach Road to the Nature Trail across from Eighth Street. Over the last year and a half, a new arm of the trail has been constructed. It adds 2,000 more feet connecting the trail to 14th Street.

P.I.A. board member, Brenda Norheim, checked the new trail out recently and said there’s a great view.

“It was gorgeous,” Norheim said. “You get all of Frederick Sound, which is just amazing.”

Most of Hungry Point trail is a wide gravel path. But the new section is a raised board walk that runs over the muskeg owned by the Petersburg Borough.

P.I.A. joined forces with the borough to fund the project. The borough had a $50,000 grant from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and P.I.A. provided the labor. The tribe has seven seasonal workers dedicated to trails.

Petersburg Indian Association’s trail crew stands on a portion of the raised boardwalk. (from left to right): Stewart Ness, Jeanette Phillips, Supervisor Franc Fernandez, Todd Young, Priscilla Brusell, David Estes, Jason Bates, and Byron Lyons. Photo courtesy of P.I.A.

The trail crew is now focused on another project at the City Creek trail near Sandy Beach. Norheim says the tribe is fixing up the existing trail with longer term plans of extending it.

“The project is just to make it more easily accessible for more people,” Norheim said.

The first phase of the City Creek Trail project is upgrading the first 800 feet from the trail head near Sandy Beach through the forest. It includes redesigning an existing foot bridge to make it wider with hand rails. Norheim says it’s a more challenging trail to build on than the muskeg.

“There’s a lot of roots in the forest there,” Norheim said. “So, having to navigate putting in posts and what not over those roots and not hurt that system is a little bit more challenging to set up that trail there because you have a lot of obstacles to work around.”

That section of the City Creek Trail—about the first third of the trail–is scheduled to be done by September of 2018. Then P.I.A. plans to work on fixing up the rest of the trail stretching to the creek.

In the long term future, the tribe is proposing to create a loop trail that runs back from City Creek through the mountains on the other side of Sandy Beach Road. It would give a higher elevation view of Frederick Sound. But that phase of the trail is just a proposal at this time.

P.I.A. workers, Byron Lyons and Jeanette Phillips work on adding extra gravel to low areas of the Hungry Point trail this spring. Photo/Angela Denning

Next up for P.I.A. after the City Creek Trail is complete is construction of a 1,000 foot sidewalk between Haugen Drive to Tlingit and Haida housing. The sidewalk would continue on Gjoa street past the Hammer and Wikan grocery store. Construction is set to begin next year.

P.I.A. then hopes to connect the new sidewalk to another section of the Hungry Point trail that has yet to be built. A new section of raised boardwalk trail is proposed to run behind the assisted living facility, Mountain View Manor, and connect to the boardwalk out on the muskeg.

“These pathways are going to be very wide and easily accessible for walkers [and] wheelchairs,” Norheim said. “It will just be so handy for individuals to get to and walk behind the Manor. They can take that trail all the way to the sewer treatment plant if they wanted. They could go up and have a picnic lunch on the board walk if they wanted.”

P.I.A. has also proposed a trail running from Severson Subdivision to the Post Office. That trail will require permitting with the state to go through airport property.

The tribe also plans to construct a sidewalk around the back side of the Middle School.

And P.I.A. would like to pursue a bike path along North Nordic drive along the waterside of the street.

Leading all of P.I.A.’s transportation projects is Susan Harai as the Director of the Transportation Department. The department employs seven seasonal trail workers and three year round maintenance workers. P.I.A. has a contract with the U.S. Forest Service to maintain 60 miles of roads.