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More Hunting and Wildlife Viewing Opportunities in the Mat-Su Valley

By Mallory Peebles, Crime and Law Enforcement, Natural Resources and Parks Reporter, Fill-in Anchor, mpeebles@ktuu.com
Published On: Feb 18 2014 05:10:00 PM AKST

The Great Land Trust purchased 917 acres of private land and turned it over to the state, making it public. The land will expand the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge.

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A land purchase will expand hunting and wildlife viewing in the Mat-Su Valley, according to the Great Land Trust.

"This parcel is really a nice fit because both it provides a new addition to a state game refuge and provides public access to it," said Great Land Trust Executive Director Phil Shephard.

After the trust purchased the 917 acres next to the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge it handed the parcel over to the state to manage. Shephard says donations over three years helped raise the $1.5 million needed for the purchase.

Now that the land is purchased, there are big plans for a 4-mile-long wildlife viewing boardwalk.

Machetanz Elementary School principal Jen Dowd says both students and teachers are excited to have the opportunity to help with the project. 

"They're wanting to help build the trail," Dowd said. "Collecting data for the great land trust on the animals and on the wildlife and the plants -- everything that we can do."

Dowd says in the past the refuge was mostly inaccessible because it was separated from the school by private property. Now that all the land is public teachers plan to take kids outside for different teaching lessons and for research projects.

The Great Land Trust says the boardwalk project is expected to cost about $150,000. The project will be funded by donations and volunteer work.