Take a hike on National Trails Day

There are more than a hundred trails in Juneau, and tomorrow is the celebration of the newly completed Under Thunder Trail in Mendenhall Valley.

The first Saturday of June is National Trails Day and local non-profit Trail Mix is hosting the grand opening.

Erik Boraas, the Executive Director of Trail Mix, estimates that about half of the trails in Juneau see steady use.

The Under Thunder Trail now connects to the Power line Trail which leads to the Trail of Time.

The whole east side of the valley has now been connected according to Ed Grossman, the Recreation Program Manager for the Forest Service.

“By providing those connections, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in use year round,” Grossman said.

Grossman estimates there are several hundred people on the trails each day during the summer season.

Tomorrow’s events take place at the Under Thunder trail head at the corner of Valley Boulevard and Granite Drive.

The event kicks off at 9 a.m. with a volunteer party to clear the sides of the trail, re-vegetate muddy areas and pick up trash.

Boraas recommends dressing for the weather and bringing work gloves.

At noon, there will be speakers from the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Forest Service. After the ribbon-cutting and lunch, there will be children’s activities and a guided hike with local historian Jim Geraghty.

“There is something for all ages and ability levels,” Boraas said.

National Trails Day has been around for nearly 20 years. In the late 1990s President Ronald Reagan’s Commission on American Outdoors published a report recommending that “all Americans be able to go out their front doors and within fifteen minutes, be on trails that wind through their cities or towns and bring them back without retracing steps.”

This report led to National Trails Day being introduced in 1993.

According to the American Hiking Society there are more than 200,000 miles of trails in the United States.

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