Eagle River Greenbelt Access and Pathway - Greenbelt History
One of the largest state parks in the United States with over 495,000
acres of land, Chugach State Park, established in 1970, has become a
valuable recreational asset to Alaska residents as well as visitors.
Several benefits were outlined in establishing the park: protect and
supply a water source for the residents of Anchorage, protect scenic
areas, provide areas to the public for viewing local wildlife, and provide
recreational opportunities within the park. During the 1960's, local
user and recreational interest groups worked through the legislative
process and the Alaska Statehood land selection process. Because of
their determination to establish the park, in addition to the hard work
of the Alaska legislature, Chugach State Park was established.
In 1979, Eklutna Village Corporation, formed as a result of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), was given ownership of the lands now known as the Eagle River Greenbelt. Eklutna had selected these lands as part of their entitlement under ANCSA for the benefit of their shareholders. From 1979 to 1987, Eklutna managed the land in an undeveloped state. In 1987, the State acquired the land within the Greenbelt through a land exchange with Eklutna. In the exchange, Eklutna was given land in downtown Anchorage that had previously been set aside for future state office construction. While there are several small in-holdings of private land within the Greenbelt, a majority of the Greenbelt is State owned and managed by the Alaska State Parks.
In January of 1980, the Chugach State Park Master Plan was adopted and put into effect after an extensive inventory of park features and resources, analysis of use patterns, and numerous public meetings and presentations. The master planning process established that the public was interested in seeing recreational development take place on both sides of Eagle River. The Municipality of Anchorage Trails Plan and the Chugach State Park Trails Plan, developed with extensive public involvement, both have established the need for an Eagle River Greenbelt pathway.