Exercise is not only good for physical health, but also for mental health. Many studies suggest that incorporating exercise into your routine will help make you healthier and happier. It also paves the way for other good choices, including a healthy diet and a better lifestyle. Experts agree that getting the body moving is good, and having access to nature and hiking trails helps people do that.
Que Natasha Casciano and Dotty Widmann, two local business owners and the visionaries behind the Cordova Trail and Covered Spaces project. Casciano and Widmann hope the project will give the community access to beautiful places to walk, bike, run, party, meditate and stroll. A motivator for the project is the current lack of covered spaces in Cordova that offer people outdoor shelter from the rain, a weather event that is fairly common here. Casciano, Widmann and their supporters want to create outdoor spaces that are welcoming and keep rain out.
“We started talking about this last April and thought, what does the community need? We wanted to do something that enriches the community. Dotty and I decided to do a covered space fundraiser, and that’s how the project began,” said Casciano.
There are four different locations they envisioned for the project, namely Casciano, and they all show different landscapes and beauties in Cordova.
“Kinsey Brown made a great map. The locations aren’t set in stone, but the four suggested locations for the grant writing that we’re doing are Fleming Spit, the Breakwater Trailhead area at the Veteran’s Memorial, Hollis Hendricks Park, and outside at Skater’s Cabin,” Casciano said. “We’re trying to get the city to draft a resolution so we can move forward with this grant that we’re working on.”
The proposed locations for the covered spaces and a map can be found on the project’s website.
The goal for each site is to potentially create the spaces along the “bay-to-bay route,” Casciano said, which stretches from Whiteshed to Orca. The one from Dr. Paul Gloe created the Bay to Bay in May Bike Tour and Run/Walk is an event that Casciano would like the Cordova Trails and Covered Spaces Project to provide the accessible route for.
Casciano and Widmann shared ideas for each covered space, including presenting vignettes by local artists that highlight the natural surroundings and display useful information about local, natural and indigenous history. Other ideas include an audio tour to make it an immersive experience, a birding trail, and places for people to gather.
“Everyone would include as much interpretative information and links as possible to enlighten viewers of the spots,” continued Casciano.
“We want a cohesive path that goes from covered space to covered space so that people can travel by bike or on foot. Many of them would be on the water,” said Widmann.
Widmann said people will be responsible for taking out their own trash since the spaces will be open.
“There will be views on everyone. We would work with different agencies and decide what each space would offer… I want to make this a destination for those who live here as well as those who visit,” Widmann said.
Several people from the community support the project. The Cordova Destination Leadership Team submitted a letter of support earlier this fall.
“The Covered Spaces Project will provide new recreational opportunities, education for community members and visitors, and open-air meeting points and venues for local community and business outings. Through activities offered along the way and information on interpretive materials, the Cordova Covered Spaces project also has the potential to improve ecological and cultural health. The project focuses on the needs of the community by creating covered areas linked to information about culture, art, wildlife, botany and more,” reads an excerpt of the letter, written by Cathy Renfeldt, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce by Cordova.
The Cordova Historical Society is the financial sponsor of the project, Casciano said.
For more information, to make a suggestion, to help, to write a letter of support, and to donate to the project, visit their website: https://visitcordovaalaska.org/cordovacoveredoutdoorspacesproject.html