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Community Winter Trails Program

Introduction to the program

The Community Winter Trails Program is a federally-funded, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF)-administered program that provides funding and support to rural communities to mark public winter trails. The goal of the program is to facilitate connections between rural communities, public roads or highways, and public use areas through installation of high visibility trail markers. DOT&PF will maintain a public online inventory of rural winter trails that will be updated in collaboration with the communities participating in this program.

Interested in learning more?

The Community Winter Trails Program Guide is available on the side bar to the right. You can learn more about the program and how to apply for funding in the Program Guide. You can also download the application by clicking on the link in the side bar.

Still have questions? Check out our FAQs on this web page below the map or email the Community Winter Trails team at dot.winter.trails@alaska.gov.

Community Winter Trails Map

DOT&PF, in cooperation with recipients of Community Winter Trails Program funding, maintains an online database of winter trails throughout the state. Use the menu bar on the right side of the map below to filter which kinds of trails are visible. If you have feedback on the map, please contact us at dot.winter.trails@alaska.gov.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can we make markers out of other materials or use a different design?
We welcome proposals to utilize new or existing types of winter trail markers. Please contact the Community Winter Trails team to share your ideas.

Can we stake markers into the ground?
Work that disturbs the ground requires additional environmental review. We recognize that staking markers into the ground is beneficial for keeping them from being knocked over by wind or wildlife. If staking markers into the ground is typically how your community places markers, let us know right away, so we can discuss including your requests in our environmental documentation.

Will this program pay for buying and repairing equipment, fuel for equipment, or marking a private trail?
This program is intended for marking winter trails openly used by all members of the public—not private trails. The program will pay for costs associated with marking the trails, including materials, basic operational expenses like fuel and oil, and for time spent assembling and placing markers on the trail. It will not pay for equipment repair or the purchase of equipment used to mark trails.

When will we get the funding?
The Community Winter Trails team will review applications as they are received, or at least quarterly. This means that it could take several months to receive an answer about whether or not your application will be funded. We are aware that there may be seasonal restrictions about when trail markers can be installed and DOT&PF will be sensitive to this when reviewing applications. Please also keep in mind that it may take several months after your application is approved and funded for marker materials to arrive in your community.

How much money can we ask for?
There is no cap on the amount of funding each applicant can receive, although the budget for each application will be thoroughly reviewed by the Community Winter Trails team to ensure it is reasonable.

Can we ask that a trail NOT be marked?
The purpose of this program is to mark trails to improve safety, not to prevent or remove trail markers.

We don’t own a SPOT or a Garmin GPS. How can we record GPS coordinates on the trail?
There are many options to record GPS coordinates on your trail, including free cell phone apps. When the time comes for you to mark the trail, the Community Winter Trails team will help guide you through your options.

When is the application due?
We accept applications throughout the year, so please submit your application at any time.

How can we mark water crossings or river and sea ice trails?
The standard winter trail marker described in the Program Guide cannot be placed on frozen water crossings like lakes or rivers, or along frozen waterway trails on rivers or sea ice. We recognize, however, that marking these areas can increase safety at potentially hazardous locations. Markers made of organic materials, such as willow branches, are acceptable in these locations and the funding from this program can pay for costs associated with creating and placing these alternative markers. We encourage you to contact the Community Winter Trails team about any alternative designs.

Can we use this funding to build an ice or snow road?
No, funding from this program cannot be used to build ice or snow roads. These funds are intended to be used only for marking established winter trails. Ice or snow roads constructed by water trucks and heavy machinery do not fit into the scope of this grant program.