Rosie Creek Trailhead

New signage posted at the Rosie Creek Trailhead, a system of forestry roads that the Alaska Division of Forestry is cultivating for recreational use between harvests. Geoffrey Orth

The Division of Forestry has “completed significant recreational upgrades” to the Rosie Creek forestry road system, located in the Tanana Valley State Forest, according to Division of Forestry Director Helge Eng.

The biggest update is that all signs have been installed along the road system, Alison Arians, a forest resource planner with the Division of Forestry, said. This includes “You Are Here” signs at road junctions to help people navigate the roads and a kiosk at the beginning of the system that contains information about the historical management of the area and maps of reforestation areas.

This fall, the Division of Forestry will hold a timber sale in the Rosie Creek area in late November or early December. The sale is “a great opportunity for Fairbanks recreationalists to see sustainable timber harvest in action,” Arians said. The harvest will also be an opportunity to showcase the partnership between recreation and forestry. According to Arians, the project is a “precedent-setting partnership in Alaska between recreation interests and a working forest.”

“Alaska is fortunate to have state forests that can support sustainable harvesting and provide unique recreational opportunities,” Eng said.

Normally, the roads are only maintained prior to a harvest. However, because harvests occur only every few decades, the roads erode in the meantime. In the interim, rather than creating a new system, roughly 18 miles of existing forestry roads south of Fairbanks are being developed for recreational use. The improvement work included regrading and resurfacing the roads and clearing brush from portions of roads.

The roads are not trails and will continue to be used for their primary purpose of timber management. However “the improvements will make the road system safer and more attractive for many popular recreational uses” ranging from hiking to horseback riding to snowmachine riding.

The upkeep is not only good for recreators; preserving the roads in the meantime will also help the Division of Forestry access the area for future harvests.

The Rosie Creek improvement project is a collaboration between the Alaska Division of Forestry, the Interior Alaska Trails and Parks Foundation and Happy Trails, Inc. The effort began last spring with a $100,000 grant from the Alaska State Parks Recreational Trails Program through the Federal Highway Administration.

More information about the timber sale this fall is available at forestry.alaska.gov/timber/fairbanks.

Contact reporter Maisie Thomas at 907-459-7544 or mthomas@newsminer.com.

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