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About Peede Trails and our activities

Peede Trails

The Peede Road Extension area in North Pole, east of Brock and north of Repp, has been used for many years by the community for snow-machining, mushing, 4-wheeling, hunting, trapping, berry-picking, horse-riding, walking, cycling and skiing. This large, undeveloped, forested area (map) has variously been called the Chena Annex, Heritage Park/Forest, and Repp Forest, and contains an outdoor education site used by the School District in the 1980s and 1990s.

Starting with the potential sale of several blocks of Borough land in 2019, a community effort began with the goal of preserving public access to this Borough and State land. This website documents our efforts to:

Borough land sale, 2019

In April 2019, the Fairbanks North Star Borough nominated three large lots in the Borough-owned part of this forest for sale in fall 2019 (map). A group of Borough residents concerned about this sale has been researching, contacting other residents, and communicating with the Borough. Related events include:

  • A petition asking the Borough not to sell these three lots signed by 144 people (including 134 signatures on paper),
  • The Borough’s Salcha-Badger Development planning team (link) explicitly recommending this area for detailed site planning before any development,
  • A letter from the Borough’s Trails Advisory Commission (TAC) to the Mayor recommending that these lots not be sold,
  • A number of Citizen’s Comments at Borough Assembly meetings.

In early August, the Borough Mayor decided to withdraw the Peede Rd Tract from the sale and recommend it for retention for public use (see final Ordinance). This parcel was the largest (166-acre), and of most concern to residents. The residents group behind this website were and are very grateful to the Mayor and the Borough for withdrawing this tract from the sale. The two smaller (40-acre) lots adjacent to the Freeman neighborhood remained in the sale.

On 12 September, the Borough Assembly voted on the Ordinance, with an amendment proposed by Marna Sanford to withdraw the 2 Brock Rd Area lots (and the Pandora Tract). Both the amendment and main Ordinance were passed by the Assembly, meaning that the Peede Tract is now “retained for public use as greenspace”, and the Brock Rd Area lots are back to the status before their nomination. Thank you to all who supported this outcome.

Capital Improvement Project proposals, Fall 2019

In 2019, the Borough began a new approach to deciding how the capital improvement budget should be spent, soliciting input from community and Borough departments. In a continuing effort to secure permanent public access to the Peede Trails area, a project that would designate the Peede Trails area as a Borough recreation area was proposed. The project, “Peede Trail Head and Trail Development”, was listed in Resolution 2019-43, and had two nominations: 1) by FNSB Parks and Recreation Department (#19-72, Peede Road Open Space), and 2) by a community member (#19-75, Heritage Forest Recreation Area). The project would create an area similar to the Isberg Recreation Area near Cripple Creek Rd, west of Fairbanks. You can also see the project described in this video (at 17:22 mins). It would add new infrastructure (restrooms, new trails, signs, 4-wheeler ramps, and a connection to Chena Lakes), but would not limit access to existing trails.

On 16 January, at an Assembly meeting with public testimony in favor of the project, the Assembly voted to include the project in the list of over 100 possible projects that were passed to the scoring committee of engineering, public works, and department-related staff.

The Peede Trail Head and Trail Development project made the next cut, with only 43 other projects listed for funding in a specified year (see Draft CIP of 25 Feb). This was great news, and our thanks go to the Borough administration. However, the funding period (2029 and 2030) is still many years off, and much has changed financially since February.

Rezoning the Peede Tract

At the conclusion of the land sale event last year, the Ordinance (#2019-36) retaining the 166-acre Peede Tract included the words “for which an application to rezone appropriately shall be prepared and submitted for Planning Commission action”. This was followed up on in March 2020, when Assembly member Marna Sanford proposed rezoning the parcel from GU-1 to OR (Outdoor Recreation), in Ordinance #2020-13. This draft Ordinance was forwarded by the Assembly to the Planning Commission on March 26. The Planning Commission will consider the Ordinance on May 12, and if approved it will be returned to the Assembly for a final vote.

In preparation for the Planning Commission public hearing, the Borough Community Planning Department prepared a comprehensive information packet (included in the full Planning Commission agenda packet for May 12), in which they approve of the rezoning. They also sent out 54 “Dear Property Owner” letters to land owners within 2,000 ft of the Peede Tract.

On 12 May 2020, the FNSB Planning Commission considered an Ordinance to rezone the 166-acre Peede Tract (see map) from GU-1 to OR (Outdoor Recreation). They passed the proposal unanimously. This rezoning would ensure long-term public access to this block of land at the heart of the Peede Trails area.

On 23 Jul the Borough Assembly voted on the ordinance, passing it unanimously.