The summit of the Crow Pass Trail in the Chugach National Forest is seen on Sept. 13, 2020. The existing 26-mile trail, which runs from Girdwood to Eagle River, would be incorporated into a 500-mile network stretching from Seward to Fairbanks if the Alaska Long Trail project becomes a reality.

An ambitious project to create a 500-mile network of connected Alaska trails would move a few steps closer to reality if state lawmakers approve funding for selected pieces of it, advocates say.

The Alaska Long Trail project envisions a trail system running from the Gulf of Alaska coastline in Seward to the boreal forest in the Interior part of the state. There are already established trails in the corridor, notably in the Chugach National Forest, Chugach State Park and Denali State Park; the challenge is getting those sections to connect into a vast system similar to the Appalachian Trail on the East Coast and the Pacific Crest Trail on the West Coast.

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