Looking north on the Mt. Riley summit. (Abbey Collins)

Hikers may see improvements to a trail that accesses Mt. Riley from Haines’ Battery Point path next summer. Alaska State Parks is seeking a grant to upgrade accessibility and navigation.

There two main Mt. Riley trailheads. One is on Mud Bay Road. The other, less popular, access point starts on the Battery Point trail.

That’s the side that State Parks wants to improve.

“That side is all within state parks lands,” says Haines area park ranger Travis Russell. “Whereas the other side has an array of land ownership issues ranging from the university as well as the state.

Russell says he has head from people who want to see the trail upgraded.

“I know there’s been requests from the search and rescue group to have it better marked as a more easily identifiable trail,” says Russell. “Several people have commented while I’ve been out on Battery Point trail that it would be nice if we could do some improvements up there. I know erosion is a big issue.”

The issue of inconsistent trail maintenance in Haines came up at a community meeting this summer.

State Parks is seeking money through a recreational trails program grant that uses funds from the federal Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Russell says the department applies for money from the program nearly every year.

“This type of grant has been used in the past for funding for improvements on Battery Point trail through multiple phases, as well as the work that was done on Seduction Point trail this past summer,” says Russell.

But the scale of work will be smaller.

“It’s not as inclusive as other grants in the past,” says Russell. “It’s not going to turn Mt. Riley trail into, say, Battery Point, for example. But it’s mostly to be able to hire a crew to help clear blowdown trees as well as post trail markers and increase signage up there so it’s easier for people to go up there and find their way back down, especially when there’s snow up there, without getting lost.”

If the department gets the $21,000 grant, work will likely take place next summer.

Russell says hikers will still be able to access the trail as usual while improvements are happening.