Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Great Land Trust Donates 187 Acres to MSB

Mat-Su | Stefan Hinman | Thursday, April 06, 2023

The nonprofit, Great Land Trust, recently purchased 187 acres of undeveloped land and donated it to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, expanding the public recreation area known as the Settlers Bay Coastal Park (SBCP) to 480 acres.

The deal was finalized on March 30, 2023, and is intended to add to the outdoor recreation in the Knik-Fairview community, a rapidly developing area of the Borough.  Great Land Trust holds a conservation easement over the entire park, ensuring permanent protection for the salmon streams, wetlands habitat and trails. The Borough will continue to develop and manage the park.

GLT Executive Director Ellen Kazary said, “We are thrilled to have worked in partnership with the Mat-Su Borough to complete this park expansion project in just one year. We’re so thankful to our funders, partners, and supporters for recognizing what an amazing opportunity this was to grow the extremely popular Settlers Bay Coastal Park, which will provide fantastic outdoor recreation access for Alaskans for years to come.”

In 2018, the Mat-Su Borough partnered with Great Land Trust to acquire 293 acres located to the south and east of Settlers Bay Golf Course, which opened to the public in 2019.  Borough Trail Crew, staff and volunteers have built nearly nine miles of non-motorized multi-use trails and installed other infrastructure such as parking areas, restrooms, trash cans, benches, dog waste stations, and trail and wayfinding signage. One highlight of the trail system includes an accessible viewing platform, which often provides a sun-swept view of the coastal flats, the Knik Arm with the Chugach Range spread beyond it. The Knik-Fairview community did not have a park or open space to recreate in this way until this park came together.

Last year, Settlers Bay Coast Park was one of the most visited outdoor Mat-Su Borough recreation facilities, a significant draw, considering the park has only been open for less than five years. Borough staff and grants help offset the cost to develop the park.

Mat-Su Borough Mayor, Edna DeVries said, “This park reinforces our mission of the Mat-Su being the best place in Alaska to live, work and play. It’s also a great example of private, nonprofit and local government working together to achieve a common goal.”




SBCP-view-4 DSC_2954 DSC_2967 SBCP-11 SBCP-2019