Sustainable Trail Design and Construction for Alaska
After 13 seasons with federal trail crews in Montana and Alaska, Gabe Travis and Christine Byl were ready to leave federal employment in 2008 and start their own small business offering trail-related services to the private sector. Now in business for 12 years in Healy, Alaska, Interior Trails supports clients such as Alaska State Parks, USFS, CampFire Alaska, and the Student Conservation Association. Interior Trails provides a complete suite of trail services including construction, design/layout, consulting, training, and teaching. Interior Trails also offers trail building services, costing and planning, and mapping in the trails sector. Interior Trails is a proud member of the Professional Trailbuilders’ Association, an international trade organization where Christine serves on the board.
With a mission rooted in sustainability, Interior Trails is a family-owned and operated, fully licensed and insured, full-service trail contractor with an excellent reputation.
In their 25th season, this husband and wife team works together to utilize their deep field experience to base their business on an eye towards innovation and clear communication.
Byl brings energy and outside the box thinking to projects and enjoys teaching and technical training. Her passion for the trail industry led her to write a book about trail crews called Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods. Travis offers incredible attention to detail, artistry, and a creative approach to the design work for which Interior Trails is deeply respected.
When asked what keeps what motivates their entrepreneurship, Byl and Travis shared, “The satisfaction that comes from doing our job well and knowing we are earning a living doing something we believe in, that makes the world a better place.” They encourage other entrepreneurs just getting started to “read, research, take free classes, find good mentors, and seek out resources to help boost your skills. Also, be sure you love your job before you turn it into a business because it is going to require a long-term commitment.”
In navigating the pandemic, Byl and Travis worked with the Alaska Small Business Development Center (Alaska SBDC), and shared about their business advisor, Rural Program Director Jennifer Adams, “Jennifer has been an indispensable ally as we figure out how to negotiate pandemic challenges, and apply for various COVID aid options, from the PPP and EIDL to Alaska Cares and Unemployment. Small, seasonal businesses don’t always fit the mold, and Jennifer has explained and clarified things time and time again, always with a cheerful disposition. After all the hours I’ve spent on hold with various agencies, it’s particularly welcome when Jennifer picks up on the first ring!”
During such a turbulent year, it has become clear how important trails are for providing opportunities to connect to the natural world, exercising in the fresh air, and resetting. Byl and Travis feel luckier than ever to be immersed in a trade that enables wider public access to natural spaces. Additionally, they are proud of the scope and variety of projects Interior Trails is able to successfully deploy to happy clients. Whether that is a 15-mile remote trail layout, a bridge in an Anchorage park, or a chainsaw class for beginners, Interior Trails gives 100% to every opportunity and every commitment.
For sustainable trail design and construction, connect with Interior Trails online at www.interior-trails.com or at (907) 952- 3517 and (907) 347-3419.