Through a strong partnership with the Anchorage Park Foundation, the Alaska Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistant (RTCA) program extends the reach and resources of the National Park Service into Alaska’s biggest city. The Anchorage Park Foundation fosters neighborhood connections to parks and trails by promoting stewardship and healthy parks. Two collaborations with Anchorage Park Foundation show why local partnership is indispensable for the NPS.
Bringing together landscape architects, schools, and outdoor recreation professionals, the Schools on Trails program helps Anchorage youth gain outdoor learning experiences. Students work with landscape architects from NPS and local organizations to shape outdoor learning projects, resulting in over 20 personalized trail maps for Anchorage schools and two new outdoor learning labs to date, with more labs and maps in the works. With a grant from the U.S. Forest Service Every Kid in a Park program, Schools on Trails additionally brought fourth graders from Title I schools on a boat tour of Portage Glacier, where many saw a glacier up close for the first time. The NPS recognizes that partnerships can help young people get outdoors and gain an early appreciation for public lands.