An Anchorage trail built in the 1970s has been given a modern-day update. The Westchester Lagoon Nature Trail now includes interpretive signs for teachers to use as an outdoor classroom.

A release from the Anchorage Park Foundation said the $727,000 project is a "dream come true" for the organization and its Schools on Trails program that seeks to connect students to natural resources and habitats. Seven schools are withing walking distance of the trail.

The nature trail is located along Chester Creek at Spenard Road and 19th Avenue.

"The inclusive trail offers unique flora, fauna and wetlands where creek flow slacks and water begins to pool in the Westchester reservoir. It is the point where still water first opens in spring, thawing westward across the upper lagoon as temperatures rebound from winter. Ducks, geese, swans, and moose are present at various times, and songbirds abound during the summer months," the release states. "The bog and creek shoreline offer a wide variety of flora. Salmon and trout are observed at various times of year and the new amenities offer a safe place for fishing."

A parking area is available on 19th Avenue. Pedestrians can access the trail from 19th Avenue and two points along the Chester Creek Trail.

Much of the funds for the project were provided by a grant from the Federal Highways Administration's Transportation Alternatives Program, as well as bonds from the Municipality of Anchorage.

The path was Anchorage's first wheelchair accessible trail in 1978. The foundation said the updated trail is still accessible to people of all abilities.

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