Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Vandalism and theft reported at Tsalteshi Trails

One trail user reported stolen skis recently and multiple signs have been defaced.

Recent instances of vandalism and theft at Tsalteshi Trails have prompted the organization to remind the public to exercise caution while using the trail system.

Jenny Neyman, the administrative coordinator at Tsalteshi, said Tuesday that one trail user reported stolen skis recently, and that multiple signs had been defaced with profanity and racially offensive language.

“We all live in our happy Tsalteshi bubble, but the more visible we become the more popular we become,” Neyman said.

Some of the trail system’s issues in the past have been as a result of “inappropriate uses,” Neyman said, but theft and vandalism are less common.

Neyman said many locals keep their cars unlocked while skiing or running, and emphasized the importance of locking cars and keeping valuables out of sight while recreating.

“It’s pretty rare that we hear about a theft,” Neyman said

In addition, Neyman said some of the signs have been repeatedly vandalized near the Skyview Middle School entrance to the trail system.

“To have it keep happening is worrisome,” she said, emphasizing that signage is expensive to replace.

The Tsalteshi budget is split between all aspects of the trail system, and the need for new signage, Neyman says, takes funds away from maintenance and grooming.

“Everybody’s paying those bills,” she said.

Neyman said Tsalteshi hopes residents and parents in the area “put some thought” into the recent vandalism.

“If you see something, say something,” she said, noting that Tsalteshi is not looking to press any charges, but hopes to continue to serve as a safe space for the community.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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