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Parks and Recreation

Program History

About Trail Watch

The Municipality of Anchorage's trail system is one of the city’s most prized and well-used resources. However, in the summer of 2003, several well-publicized incidents on Anchorage trails systems prompted significant community safety concerns.

 In response, the Municipality of Anchorage developed the Trail Watch program. Through the Trail Watch program, volunteers patrol Anchorage trails with clearly visible Trail Watch armbands.  These volunteers serve as extra “eyes and ears” for local law enforcement and act as a deterrent for crime. Trail Watch volunteers also identify hazardous trail conditions and provide assistance to trail users. The city began to develop the program on August, 1, 2003 and the program was officially launched on September 15, 2003.

The program was designed as a community-based effort and the priorities and guidelines were developed through community input. A series of meetings and interviews to learn about the habits and concerns of trail users were held. Major trail user groups like the Artic Bicycle Club, the Nordic Ski Association and the Friends of the Trails participated. Soon common concerns began to emerge:

  •  Many of the trails are poorly lit or overgrown providing potential opportunities for criminals.
  • Many residents feel strongly about a particular part of the trail system and use the trail daily.
  • Trail users wanted to take an active role in keeping trails safe.
  • Professional emergency responders have a difficult time locating victims on the trails because victims often are unable to clearly articulate or describe their location.  

Based on these results, Trail Watch focuses on five main issues:

  1. volunteer patrols  
  2. trail maintenance reporting system
  3. enhanced visibility on trail
  4. reporting safety and maintenance issues

Volunteer Patrols

Trail Watchers are volunteers who patrol the trails according to their own schedule. 

Trail Maintenance Reporting System

Volunteers use the ANCWorks website to report trail conditions and maintenance issues such as trail erosion, graffiti, broken trail lights, and damaged equipment. To report maintenance and safety issues, click on "Other."

Enhanced Signage

Parks and Recreation is currently installing additional wayfinding and informational signage throughout the trails and park system.

Orientation and Reporting System

All Trail Watch volunteers are asked to watch the orientation video or attend a Trail Watch training event in person.

In case of an emergency, call 911.

In the event of a non-emergency, contact APD at 786-8900.

To report a homeless camp, use the ANCWorks website and click on "Report a Homeless Camp."

Community Partnerships

The program has received a positive response from many local businesses, community groups and non-profit organizations. If anyone is interested in partnering with the Trail Watch program, please call 343-4287.

Enhanced Visibility

In an effort to increase trail safety, Trail Watch annually identifies trail segments on the popular trails that have poor site lines and limited off trail visibility. 

    • Parks and Recreation
    • Director: John Rodda
    • 632 W 6th Avenue, Suite 630, Anchorage, AK 99501
    • 907 343-4355

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