Anchorage, Alaska, Voted Top 10 Walking City

Anchorage, Alaska – April 6, 2006 – This month, the rest of the country learned what Anchorage residents have known for years-that Alaska’s largest city is one of the best places to enjoy walking and other outdoor recreational activities. Anchorage, Alaska, was voted as number eight in a list of the top 10 walking cities in the United States by “Prevention” magazine, in a joint study with the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

The study ranked the country’s 100 most populous cities based on a variety of criteria including: the percentage of people who walk regularly-for exercise and to get to and from work, the number of residents and their use of mass transit, and walker-friendly attributes such as low crime rates, mild year-round temperatures, the number of cultural attractions, participation in recreational sports and pet ownership.

Anchorage’s trail system is one of the best in the country, encompassing 128 miles (206 km) of paved trails and 300 miles (482 km) of unpaved and wilderness trails, offering endless opportunities for activities such as walking, hiking, running, biking and roller blading. Anchorage locals have long enjoyed their city’s extensive trail system, extended summer daylight hours and easy accessibility to outdoor fun. In winter, when the weather gets snowy, locals and visitors alike pull out their skis and continue to enjoy the trail system.

With so many miles of trail, it’s only fitting that Anchorage plays host to a number of running and skiing events including, ACVB Torchlight Ski Parade, Tour of Anchorage, Ski 4 Kids, Mayor’s Marathon and Half Marathon, Humpy’s Marathon, Alaska Run for Women, and Alaska Ski for Women-the largest all-women’s cross-country ski event in North America, to name a few.

Visitors and residents don’t have to compete in an event to enjoy walking in Anchorage. First Friday Arts Walk encourages people to stroll between local art galleries, stop at cafes and bars for poetry readings, and thoroughly enjoy a walk through downtown Anchorage.

Each summer, city walkers “fish” for wacky, whimsical and definitely wild salmon statues during the annual Wild Salmon on Parade. The 2006 Wild Salmon on Parade will feature 20 four-foot, artistically transformed salmon sculptures. In September 2006, the salmon go to auction during the annual Fish Fry & Buy dinner. A map pinpointing the location of the salmon will be available on www.Anchorage.net.

Locals also “Graze to Raise” each May-the Alaska Visitor Industry Charity Walk is a unique fundraiser event where participants raise money for local charities while feasting on fabulous food at this fun, 5K, walk through downtown Anchorage. For more info, visit www.alaskacharitywalk.org.

Another opportunity for walking in downtown Anchorage is the Planet Walk, which runs along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Designed by Eli Menaker, a 2004 Service High School graduate, the Planet Walk is an accessible scale model demonstrating place and size in the solar system. Just as it takes eight minutes for light to travel from the sun to Earth, it takes eight minutes to walk from the model sun to the model Earth. Anchorage’s Planet Walk begins with the “Sun Station” at Fifth Avenue and G Street and continues through downtown, along the Coastal Trail. With views of Mount Susitna and Cook Inlet, the eleven-mile Coastal Trail stretches along the city’s scenic coastline from downtown, past Westchester Lagoon, to Kincaid Park-home to a network of unpaved, wooded trails. Along the way there are “Planet Stations,” with information about each.

With its extensive network of trails, Anchorage offers opportunities for anyone from the casual stroller to the die-hard runner. There’s never a shortage of turf to explore so it’s no wonder Anchorage is rated as a top 10 walking city in “Prevention” magazine, and also rated as a top 25 running city in “Runner’s World.”

The Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau’s mission is to attract and serve visitors to the Municipality of Anchorage. ACVB’s marketing functions are funded by half of the bed tax collected by the lodging association. The other half goes to the Municipality’s general fund. ACVB receives no state or federal funds. For more information, explore www.Anchorage.net.

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