Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

New Community Grants Awarded by Kenai Mountains–Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area

September 25, 2018

By Katherine Schake

Children in Girdwood point out their work on the community mural, recently sponsored by KMTA through Girdwood Fine Arts Camp. Photo courtesy of Tommy O’Malley

The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm (KMTA) Corridor Communities Association (CCA) Board of Directors held their annual fall meeting on September 14th, 2018 at the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward. KMTA receives and administers funds, appropriated by Congress and other sources, to support locally initiated community projects. Through KMTA’s Community-Based Grants Program, the organization works to enhance, preserve, and protect the historic, cultural, scenic, and outdoor recreational resources of Alaska’s only designated National Heritage Area.

At the September Board meeting, 11 community grants were awarded for a total of $109,463 in funding. These projects will leverage over $175,000 in community investment. Past projects funded include an award-winning high school curriculum, new museum exhibits, trail restoration, interpretive signage, and building restoration. More information on past projects may be found on KMTA’s website: https://www.kmtacorridor.org/recent-grant-projects/

The newly awarded grants are as follows:

  • Caines Head State Recreation Area – awarded $10,000 to design and install new interpretive signs at Fort McGilvray.
  • Alaska Geographic – awarded $8,400 to enable and facilitate youth volunteers in constructing the Iditarod National Historic Trail from Victor to Rocky Creek.
  • Alaska Mountains and Wilderness Huts Association – awarded $6,517 for conceptual design and site survey of the Spencer Glacier Hut; phase one of the Glacier Discovery Hut-to-Hut System.
  • Alaska Trails – awarded $11,900 to the Alaska Trail Stewards to conduct an inventory of potential trail projects throughout the Kenai corridor, and complete 6 trail work projects within the Chugach National Forest.
  • Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center – awarded $17,700 for upgrading and creating new interpretive signage throughout the center.
  • Cooper Landing Community Club – awarded $5,000 for the Stories of Cooper Landing, Building Connections by Preserving the Past elders and youth project.
  • Girdwood Trails Committee – awarded $16,876 to construct the California Creek bridge on the lower Iditarod National Historic Trail.
  • Hope and Sunrise Historical Society – awarded $3,000 for the Hope Museum Development Coordinator position and associated museum projects.
  • Student Conservation Association ­­­­– awarded $15,000 to support the SCA Kenai Peninsula Regional Youth Crew in maintaining numerous trails throughout the Chugach National Forest.
  • Seward Nordic Ski Club – awarded $5,500 for an engineering survey of the Divide Ski Area, required to maintain US Forest Service easement to access ski and snowshoeing trails.
  • City of Whittier Parks and Recreation – awarded $9,500 for Horsetail Falls Trail improvement and interpretive signage.

Kids from Seward Elementary visit Manitoba Huts this past year, sponsored by a KMTA mini-grant. Photo courtesy of Jean Beck.

The KMTA area is comprised of the north-south road, rail, and trail corridors from Bird to Seward and includes the communities of Girdwood, Portage, Moose Pass, Cooper Landing, Sunrise, Hope, Portage, Whittier, and the wild waters of Prince William Sound. More information about KMTA grants can be found here: http://www.kmtacorridor/grants/