b'Like most Alaskans, Im not complaining about spend- wave and smile back, and Im reminded that we are all shar-ing more time outdoors because there is no other place Iding these long months of social distancing and uncertainty. rather be. I firmly believe that there is nothing more nourishing than I have been inspired by this towns connection to trailsspending time outside, even when the weather is not ideal. that can take you to town and to the middle of nowhere.Also, the more we are living, working and playing in our Due to COVID, Im not spending much time picking up thecommunity, the more we can build on our quality of life, urban beat or amenities (except for maybe Wild Scoops),social capital and our resiliency to future adversity.but Im experiencing Southcentrals cultures and sense ofThe community of Anchorage is far from perfect. There place through the mosaic of greenbelts, corridors and trailsare complex social, political and environmental issues that that lead to even more tantalizing terrain. Growing up inhinder our health, safety and ability to move throughout Southeast Alaska, Im familiar with our deep connection to the land, the power of community, and how we weave our livelihoods with access to our natural resources. Its so enjoyable to ski, bike, run and explore the trails that easi-ly transport us from one side of the city to the other. It is the bridging of our natural and manmade environments that places us in this unique coexistence with wildlife and primitive habitat in our backyard.In an effort to get out of the house while working from home during the pandemic, Ive gotten to know my own the city with ease. Sections of road and areas of town need to be reimagined and reenergized. We should be pushing for more pedestrian-, bike- and eco-friendly environments that complement the natural features of the landscape. Still, as we navigate these trying and unsettling times, I am grateful for what Anchorage does offer. For me, the ability to hop on countless trails or get completely off the beaten track has been liberating. The freedom of move-ment and recreation opportunities in and around this city are incredible. It has helped me find relief, a network of friends, and a renewed motivation to experience as much of our incredible state as I can. The more we strive to connect and construct spaces that are based on people and place, and that allow us to move, recreate and engage, the more we will increase our commu-nitys health, well-being, tolerance, safety and sustainabil-ity. Looking back at my upbringing, it is Alaska that taught me the importance of connection to the land and people. It provided a foundationa sense of place and dutyto ensure Alaska remains wild and resource-rich, brimming neighborhood better and to appreciate the transitions ofwith diversity and opportunity. Harmonizing our natural seasons. From my temperate rainforest roots to summersand built environments plays a key role in the high quality endless light and short but mighty growing season, now weof life in Anchorage and in our state and must continue far are seeing falls warm palette of alpine reds and yellows.into the future. It is exactly what convinced me to stay in My attention is more focused, taking in the smaller beau- Alaska when it came time to find another home. ties. Im in awe of the creative features of homes (chickenBeyond grateful to get to know you, Anchorage. Thank coops!), yards and bursting gardens that add to the citysyou for welcoming me and keeping me grounded through greenery, vibrancy and vitality. My increased time spentthe challenges and uncertainties of 2020.meandering streets and trails allows me to interact more with my neighbors. I wave and smile at strangers and they 8 |UrbanStreets Anchorage'