By Mike Sica
They want to create an oasis, a peaceful place amidst the hustle and bustle of summer, a system of paths, trails and walkways among the planes, trains and automobiles that are part of Skagway’s busy tourist season.
Members of a municipal ad hoc committee, known as Open Area Spaces in Skagway (OASIS), hope to improve and expand “green areas” to enhance the quality of life for residents as well as visitors.
Some projects, such as a Welcome Garden near Pullen Pond, are already underway, while other concepts, such as a walking trail along the Skagway River just west of the airport runway, could end up being a mirage without the approval of the state Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“So far, we’ve just been lookingat potential new trail routes that would add to existing ones with the goal of creating a more connected trail system throughout town,” said Kim Burnham, OASIS chair.
The proposed trail that needs FAA approval would run along the levee between the east side of the Skagway River and west of the airport runway. Some committee members wonder if constructing a fence along the airport property would help.
“This trail would connect the Yakutania Point Bridge/Trail to the Pat Moore Bridge and the Seven Pastures area,” Burnham explained.
Although committee members have been told that FAA approval may be difficult, they still may ask the borough assembly to pursue the concept.
“The chances of it being approved by the FAA are pretty slim,” said DOT official Sharyn Augustine in a Nov. 4 email to OASIS member Jamie Bricker. “It would beright up against the runway, and I just don’t see them liking it at all.”
The committee is trying to raise public awareness and get community comment. An information table was set up at the Christmas Bazaar on Dec. 7 at the school, and a committee meeting was held on Dec. 9.