Eagle River Greenbelt Access Pathway Preferred Alternative
The Preferred Alternative is a shared-use, 15.3 mile pathway from the Glenn Highway to the Eagle River Nature Center.
The Preferred Alternative would construct a 15.3-mile dedicated pedestrian pathway from the Glenn Highway to the Eagle River Nature Center. The trail will eventually be paved, with a 12-foot-wide traveling surface and is described by the following six segments:
Glenn Highway to Briggs Bridge: From VFW Road at the Glenn Highway, the pathway crosses Meadow Creek on Bridge #1, follows the north side of Eagle River and connects to a trail that was once the Old Glenn Highway. A spur pathway and Bridge #2 would connect to Eagle River Campground on the south side of Eagle River. Bridge #2 would be built using existing bridge abutments. At Eagle River Campground, an existing trail would be upgraded and a parking area built. From the Eagle River Bridge #2 Spur junction, the pathway would continue east on the north side of Eagle River until reaching a canyon area with steep eroding bluffs. To avoid the bluffs and residential property, the pathway crosses to the south side of Eagle River on Bridge #3, travels east, and then crosses back again to the north side of Eagle River on Bridge #4. The pathway continues on the north side of the river, climbs to an existing community pathway and crosses Eagle River on the shoulder of Briggs Bridge on Eagle River Road. Briggs Bridge is already built to accommodate pedestrians.
Briggs Bridge to Bridge #5: Once across Briggs Bridge, the pathway would
route under Eagle River Loop Road to connect with an existing community
pathway system and the State Park Eagle River Access parking area. The
pathway would then follow a dedicated trail, called the Lower Eagle
River Trail (LERT), and occasionally divert from LERT to avoid areas
requiring large amounts of disturbance to maintain the ADA required
5 percent grade. The pathway would turn north, leaving LERT to avoid
wetlands, private property, and the South Fork of Eagle River where
bears are frequently sighted. Alternative 1 would then cross Eagle River
on Bridge #5, which would spans the floodplain an additional 230 feet
on either side of the 170-foot river span. This design is per recommendations
from resource agencies to provide an unimpeded wildlife river migration
corridor due to high bear and moose activity in the area.
Bridge #5 to the Matanuska Electrical Association (MEA) power line: North of Bridge #5, a spur pathway would be constructed near Driftwood Bay Drive to connect to the existing community pathway system and an existing parking area. The pathway would continue east on the north side of Eagle River until opposite the South Fork of Eagle River where a loop trail would be constructed to an elevated wildlife viewing deck (South Fork Viewing Deck). The loop design conforms to a recommendation from resource agencies to provide humans and wildlife with an extra trail option, and not a “dead end” in which an undesirable human-moose or human-bear encounter might occur. Between the South Fork Viewing Deck and the MEA power line the pathway stays between the 25-foot MOA river setback and intermittent wetlands just uphill from the setback. An oxbow Palustrine wetland could be avoided by purchasing an easement.
MEA power line to Bridge #6: East of the MEA power line the pathway continues east, paralleling the river on natural levees to avoid large wetland areas to the north and south until reaching Bridge #6, where the pathway crosses over an oxbow of Eagle River and an unnamed creek. An easement would need to be purchased in this segment at Mile 6.5 of the pathway where private property comes within 14 feet of an eroding bank of Eagle River.
Bridge #6 to the North Fork Access Parking: Bridge #6 to the North Fork Access Parking: East of Bridge #6 the pathway would leave the river and follow existing undeveloped pathways until reaching the North Fork Access Parking area. The existing pathways are located in uplands areas.
North Fork Access Parking to Eagle River Nature Center: The pathway follows the Eagle River Road ROW from the North Fork Access Parking area to the Eagle River Nature Center. The new pathway would connect to an abandoned racetrack, where a new parking area would be created west of and downhill from the Eagle River Nature Center.