A Trails Build Alaska rally demonstration was held in Juneau on Wednesday, May 19. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

A Trails Build Alaska rally demonstration was held in Juneau on Wednesday, May 19. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Experience is why I support Trails Build Alaska

There are many people still in need of work and our land needs attention now more than ever.

In response to “Advocates don’t want conservation corps efforts to trail off,” I would like to publicly advocate for Trails Build Alaska, an effort to secure funding for a statewide trails workforce development program. Governor Dunleavy and the Alaska State Legislature have the opportunity to invest $12 million of the $1 billion stimulus funding the State is receiving to fund this program . COVID-19 cost many people their jobs and reminded us of the importance of outdoor recreation and connecting with our natural environment.

I am writing this from the perspective of someone who worked in the entertainment industry and lost their full-time job last March. Not only did I lose all of my income, I also lost my sense of purpose, livelihood, and daily social interaction. After a month of unemployment and lockdown, I was lucky enough to get a job as a crew member with Trail Mix without any prior experience. I did not expect how much working on trails would improve my mental state and teach me about the land I live on. Being able to positively contribute to my community by sculpting the outdoor environment was a truly rewarding experience.

There are many people still in need of work and our land needs attention now more than ever. Trails Build Alaska will be a statement that our government actively invests in Alaska’s people, land and economy. I wish for this community to support and uplift this program so that it can have impact on a statewide level.

Sarah Wallace,

Juneau

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