From April 14 through this Monday, the Ketchikan area enjoyed 13 straight days of sunshine without precipitation being recorded at Ketchikan International Airport.

What a wonderful early springtime gift — uninterrupted sun, with very few bugs to bother us while out and about.

National Weather Service data indicates that we hadn’t enjoyed so many consecutive non-precipitation days since early 2019, which saw a 15-day stretch from Feb. 23 to March 9 of that year.

So, how did you enjoy the sunshine?

Although it is early spring and there’s a lot of snow at elevation, we know that some Ketchikan residents got outside on local trails.

One of the many blessings of residing in such a place as this is the proximity of wild country accessible by trails.

Some of us can walk out our front doors and take a few steps to find ourselves on a trail in the type of terrain for which people elsewhere would spend hours driving just to reach the overcrowded trailhead.

Even without our famous rainfall, our cup runneth over with good things.

Alas, building and maintaining quality trails is not inexpensive. We appreciate the contributions of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and State of Alaska in providing the outdoor recreational opportunities that they do in the Ketchikan area. And as we know, most of the trails and other outdoor recreational facilities in this area are on Tongass National Forest Land and therefore maintained by the U.S. Forest Service.

Our thanks goes to the U.S. Forest Service for the work they’re able to do in maintaining some of the area’s most popular local trails, in addition to recreational cabins sprinkled throughout the Ketchikan-Misty Fjords Ranger District.

Earlier this month, the Department of the Interior released funds for deferred maintenence projects across the country, and the Forest Service also allocated funds from the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund for projects in the Chugach and Tongass National Forest.

These projects include defered maintenance on cabins and other sites in the Ketchikan-Misty Fjords Ranger District, and the Sunnahae Trail reconstruction and other projects in the Prince of Wales Island area (We would encourage the Forest Service to direct resources to the Naha River Trail near Loring, as well).

 The federal project funding was highlighted earlier this week by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R- Alaska, who also has introduced two-pieces of trail-focused legislation.

One Murkowski proposal would designate the 16-mile Alaska portion of the Chilkoot Trail as a National Historic Trail. The other bill would require a feasibility study on whether to designate the proposed 500-mile, Alaska Long Trail between Seward and Fairbanks as a National Scenic Trail.

“America has eleven national scenic trails, most of which you’d recognize, such as the Appalachian Trail, or the scenic Pacific Crest Trail. Alaska Trails, and many others have been advocating for the Alaska Long Trail for years,” Murkowski said in a prepared statement. “It makes perfect sense for this proposed trail to garner national attention, recognition, and support through a scenic trails designation.”

We can certainly voice hearty support for an Alaska Long Trail farther north. It’s a great idea. Still, those recent sunny days here in Ketchikan start us to thinking — how about a long trail circumnavigating Revillagigedo Island?