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Rail Spur

The MSB does not want anyone to travel on our new 32 mile unfinished “Rail Spur” which connects the Parks Highway to the Port.

^ Very informative February 2, 2016, column by Anchorage Daily News columnist Charles Wohlforth who discovered that the Mat-Su rail spur is a wonderful bike trail.

However, on September 28, 2017, the MSB told the public to stay off of the trail.

From the MSB press release:

The Port MacKenzie Rail Extension’s 32-mile embankment is closed to travel. Responsible residents do not trespass. Please stay out of the 200-foot wide right of way for the rail embankment. Check in with landowners before you go out and recreate or hunt on their lands.

Numerous incidents of vandalism and thefts have occurred in the last month on the embankment including: Borough rail embankment gates rammed, cut off hinges and stolen chains and locks, stolen and damaged signs, stolen barriers, deep ruts in the embankment from vehicles climbing the side slope, ruts on the top of the embankment from vehicles spinning in circles and sliding sideways. A break-in also occurred at a port lessee facility.

Because of numerous criminal violations, the Borough has recently increased patrols along the corridor by Borough employees and a security company. Patrols have been effective at reducing trespassing and criminal activity. No Borough employee or contractor has fired any weapons during these patrols.

Here’s how the public reacted on Facebook when this press release was posted on the local news group:

“This looks like a fabulous bike trail! I wish we could use it as a bike trail instead of waiting (forever) for it to become a railroad track.”

“Okay say we do. Are you willing to pay all the cost associated with making it that including the things everyone complains about …enforcement, safety, trash pick up, returning it to its present state when and if funding is found to complete it? Because the state has no money to pay..just asking…”

“I worry about the “Streisand effect” with this notice from the MSB. (I.E., now people are going to be aware that this RR spur is actually a very nice trail.)”

“Why close it .We paid millions for it.”

“Why can’t taxpayers use it as a trail now as it apparently isn’t going to be used for anything else – at least not for a long time. At least if people were using it as a trail, the vandals would have that many more eyes on them and they’d have to go elsewhere.”

“They cut off existing trail use for people south of the extension to access their property. Then never complete the project. Then get mad the people drove over their fancy elevated bike path to get to their property. Sure some dumb asses a spinning donuts on it… but the government needs to take some responsibility.”

“It’s sort of like what’s called in law an ‘attractive nuisance’  “
“Nope… we now have to go through the port and cross property of someone who isn’t really a fan of my family. They have decided to allow access, but it’s still super awkward when we had our own road out to the point and could avoid it all together.”
“Just as a note of information the route for this was publicly noticed and debated for literally years. It was the route that was picked right and wrong. Easements were bought etc.”
“Taxpayers paid for it why not use it for something. Since the MSB likes to spent so much money on trail work and design how about removing the gate and putting up a welcome sign and quite and squandering money on security and use those funds for something productive.”
“First of all that easement was paid for by the people there for I have every right to use so I wonder how it is u can tell me I can’t.”
“Or what? Get arrested and thrown in jail? Please someone get arrested for trespassing. Then have the court explain the difference between our homes and the half done rail bed.”
“What a Waste of Money ! “
“I sympathize with people having problems accessing their property. But is it asking too much to not carelessly destroy what has already been built? Maybe that rail spur will never be finished. Then again maybe the next big mining or pipeline project will make it useful…and maybe you or your kids will benefit from it with a good paying job.”
“It’s going to grow over with alders of it isn’t used. No matter what it will require repair work so as tax payers we might as well get to use the damn thing. They could have built a Wasilla bypass for the money wasted on it.”
It is serving no purpose other than closing off access to public land.”
“And now you know the real reason.”
“Dan Mayfield, u put this together apparently so know how do we go about using it that we paid for it ????”
“Sounds very familiar didn’t we pay to maintain a ferry that we never got to use. Increase boro land assessments threats of sales tax. Matsu bro spends way too much money on speculative endeavors. Dairy farms, ports, fairies, rail beds with no rails . What will be next taxation More taxation no doubt.”
“This is a ridiculous waste of land and money. That Port saw one barge last year. I drove out last month just to see what was out there. A sign bragging about how much money and another saying to check in at the abandoned, boarded up gate house. I drove to the open gate, called both numbers on the sign and no one answered. I then drove down to the Port and not a soul anywhere to be found and this was a Thursday around 2pm. I then drove and parked at one of the gates and took a walk to see the rail extension that cost so much money only to realize, it’s no rail extension, just very tall expensive one lane gravel road.”
“Even if its finished there is no work for it. Even the railroad people don’t want it.I paid for this closed gate with lock. Millions poof. No trespass stay away .No money.blah blah.Its madness.”
“Isn’t that payed (sic) for with public money?”
“Mostly federal money and state. But just like federal or state park you just don’t get a key to do what you want it is an asset.”
“Yep but we the people paid for something we cant use. Because the borough says it belongs to them.”
“Yeah what everyone else said! Public land, public funds, government failure, threatening arrest. Typical government.”
“Well if the only ones that can enforce it is Code Compliance then everyone have at it!”
“There’s really no where to hunt out here now . everything else is private. We been hunting out here for years.just one more thing they want to take away.”
“Here’s a pic of who is really driving around the gates, there security guard is to lazy to get out and unlock it so he drives around it. And yet the borough keeps blaming there residents. This picture was just talking a couple of days ago.”
“Wow isn’t that something plus blaming everyone else for the road bank being tore up wonder what this costing us in wages and benefits!”
security truck
The ADN’s detailed article: