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Tene’ Ninicezet Project

Tene’ Ninicezet (Trials I Am Thinking Of) is a three year project, that began October 1, 2010, that is funded by the Administration of Native Americans.

Project Goal:

To increase collaborative partnerships that will enhance land stewardship within the Matanuska Watershed by collectively working together in the development of an inclusive recreation and trails plan and by developing the social and economic opportunities within the Matanuska Watershed through cultural ecotourism.



Project Outcomes Will Include:

A Matanuska Watershed Recreation and & Trails Plan.

Understanding of all current recreation areas and trails within the Matanuska Watershed, their conditions, and sustainable maintenance recommendations.

Increase community stewardship.

Trails: Two improved trails (one sustainable non-motorized and one sustainable multi-use motorized) and one newly constructed non-motorized sustainable trail.

Trail signage on at least 24 miles of trail.

A written Tribal Guide for Cultural Ecotourism.

At least 3 interpretive panels documenting Tribal culture and natural history of the region.

A website that list cultural tourism businesses and opportunities across the state with links to their websites.

Host a statewide Tribal Cultural Ecotourism Summit.

Employment opportunities and training (seasonal full-time Recreation and Trails Technician II, seasonal part-time Recreation and Trails Technician I, and a training program for outdoor cultural ecotourism guides).

Development of cultural ecotourism business plans for the Matanuska Watershed.


Recognition and Awards:

During the Commissioner’s reception, at the 2011 ANA Grantee Meeting/Conference in Washington D.C, the Tene’ Ninicezet Project was presented the “Innovative Approach to Tribal Governance” award. A slide presentation on the scenic project area was presented and the following project overview was shared with audience:


This three-year project takes an innovative approach to tribal governance. Along with enhancing the Tribe’s ability to manage and protect State-owned lands in their traditional territory, this grantee is utilizing interoperability efforts. The grantee will enhance tribal governance and land stewardship of Chickaloon traditional lands by designing and implementing trails and recreation planning and by developing and managing an ecotourism plan. Through these efforts, partnerships will be formed and strengthened to create the infrastructure that will initiate Tribal cultural ecotourism opportunities, generate revenue, and create new jobs.

In addition, our Cultural Ecotourism Project received an award from the Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau. At their annual membership meeting, the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council was presented with the “NORTHERN LIGHTS AWARD.” The following was shared with the audience:


One of the many gems of the Mat-Su Valley is the Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway. Covering over a hundred miles of breathtaking Alaska scenery, this treasured route passes through key communities with a good deal of still untapped tourism opportunities. Home to a number of valuable Mat-Su CVB members like Sheep Mountain Lodge, MICA Guides, and Alaska Ultra Sport, it’s clear that these communities hold a lot of potential for our industry. One particular organization has recently taken the initiative to catalog these opportunities and present a development study for ecotourism in the Matanuska Watershed. With planned research through interviews and focus groups with key community leaders, and goals to boost awareness through public forums and citizen surveys, this organization is already showing an inspiring determination to throw the spotlight one of Alaska’s best kept secrets. Market Analyses and business plans are being spearheaded by Linda Brenner, former Community Development Director for the Mat-Su Borough. Significant community involvement is the key focus in the Ecotourism Development Study. We all have high hopes for the success of this organization’s efforts. Please join me in congratulating the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council, this year’s recipient of the 2011 Northern Lights Award.



> Matanuska Watershed Recreation & Trails Plan

> Matanuska Watershed Cultural Ecotourism

> Ecotourism Guide Training Program

> Statewide Tribal Ecotourism Conference/Summit

We want the Tene’ Ninicezet Project to be a model process that others may refer to and replicate in other locations now and in the future.


Chickaloon Village
Environmental Stewardship Department
[email protected]


Linda Brenner
Project Manager
[email protected]

Gene Agnew
GIS & Trails Coordinator
[email protected]

Administration for Native Americans
This project would not have been possible without the generous support of Administration for Native Americans.



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