A popular Valley park will soon be seen in a whole new light. Government Peak Recreation Area near Hatcher Pass is being transformed into the Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s first and only lighted trail system.


On Monday, Yukon Electric crews worked quickly to place 40-foot-long light poles in the ground every three minutes.


“We’ve pre-rigged all of the poles so that the line can come down from the helicopter, attach to the rigging and lift the pole up to be taken out to the predrilled holes that we have that they slip into,” explained Yukon Electric owner Sean Nelson.


The Mat-Su Borough will illuminate all three-and-a-half miles of ski trails, according to project manager and engineer Mike Campfield. It will take 102 LED light poles and in the end will cost more than $600,000.


Campfield said the Mat-Su Valley Ski Club, Rasmuson Foundation and Mat-Su Health Foundation donated most of the funding.


“Probably about two-thirds of the funds came from the Mat-Su Health Foundation,” he said. “They’re trying to promote people getting outside in the winter when you usually just sit around and watch TV.”


The Government Peak project is lighting the way to a healthy and more active Valley community. Bright trails will allow folks to enjoy the government peak area, despite those dark and gloomy winter nights.


“We’re doing work that we’ve never done before and that’s the most exciting part of this, is we are being able to do something brand new,” Nelson said.


The lights will automatically turn on when it gets dark out and a timer will shut them off each night at 9 p.m.


Campfield said because they are LEDs, lighting all of Government Peak Recreation area will only cost the borough a couple thousand dollars each year.


The Government Peak Recreation Area will be closed through Wednesday while crews continue putting up the lights.


KTVA 11's Shannon Ballard can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.