Alaska To Receive Over $14 Million for Recreation Infrastructure

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will invest $37.75 million to improve recreation related infrastructure on national forests and grasslands, including $14.4 million specifically for projects within the Tongass and Chugach National Forests.

These investments are made possible by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Senator Murkowski helped write, negotiate, and shepherd into law last year. Maintaining both heavily used and remote cabins located along lakes, atop mountains and on coastal islands that are available year-around requires resources and staff capacity, which has been in short supply for many years threatening the very existence of the recreation cabin program.  To respond to the call of local Alaskans and Alaska adventurers alike to save these cabins, Murkowski specifically included a carve-out for construction, reconstruction, and operation and maintenance of recreation public use cabins in Alaska in the bill.

Of the $37.75 million announced nationwide:

  1. $18 million for recreational cabins and historic buildings to support improvements and construction of new cabins.?
  1. $19.75 million for recreation sites, including for maintenance, repairs, construction of new facilities, and the installation and expansion of individual campsites, powerlines, and other related improvements.

“Alaska is home to the best outdoor opportunities in the world, and recreation is a key part of our economy. To maintain and grow this world-class industry, we need infrastructure that is modern, safe, and accessible,” Murkowski said. “My efforts to support recreation infrastructure in Alaska – including recreational cabins and historic buildings – started long before the infrastructure bill was ever considered and date back to my time as Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The work we did there, along with the special consideration and funding that I ultimately added to the infrastructure bill, are a home run for all us who are blessed to call Alaska home and for our visitors.” 

There are more than 155 special use cabins in the Tongass and 50 in the Chugach. The USFS is planning a collaborative process to include local communities in determining a strategy on improving its cabins. For more information on public engagement opportunities, visit the Alaska Region Cabin Strategy website.

Background: The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law on November 15, 2021. The law provides historic investments into roads, bridges, ports, airports, broadband, ferries, water and wastewater, resilience, and energy projects—modernizing and upgrading the nation’s core infrastructure. Senator Murkowski was a lead author and negotiator of the bipartisan infrastructure package, which also garnered support from Senator Sullivan and the late Congressman Don Young. 

Related Issues: Infrastructure