Russian Jack Park
The park has a colorful history. Jacob Marunenko, a Russian immigrant who arrived in 1915 homesteaded the location of the park in the early 1930’s. He became known as Jake Marchin or “Russian Jack”. During World War II, the army needed expansion areas. The homestead reverted back to the federal government control. Later in 1948 it was given to the city with intent to be a park. In the interim, the area of the greenhouse and golf course became a minimum security prison farm for APD housing inmates who committed minor offences involving alcohol. The “Prison Farm” was known for its vegetables, particularly cabbages and potatoes grown there until the early 60’s. It was also the city’s water source in case of an emergency. With demands for recreation growing the prison farm was moved in 1968 and is now known as the Clithrow Center.
At present, the Russian Jack Park serves as a gem of mide town, providing tranquil spots in the middle of busy midtown throught year. In summer, the golf course course and trail provides, and in winter the the park become a favorite sledding hill and cross country skiing course. If you are tired of snow, visit the green house at the park entrance. The green house cultivates all flowers that colors downtown and all over the city during summer.
Russian Jack Park: http://www.muni.org/parks/parkdistrictne.cfm
Direction to the Russian Jack Park
From downtown, 6th avenue/Glen Highway toward Wasilla/Palmer. Exit at Bragaw, turn left on Debbar. After you pass a traffic light, the road goes uphill. The entrance is on your right.
Park trail map
Yellow: Paved Trail
Red: Main Trail
Aqua dotted: Side Trail
Russian Jack Park Tour Loop: 3.6 miles
Difficulty: easy – moderate
From the Chalet go back to the park entrance, on left there isa a gate and a trail just next to the golf course. As you descend the trail, it becomes moist or muddy. At the bottom of the slope the trail veers left going toward a road. The trail veers left going along the park boundary and cross the bridge. Go straight up the trail and you will reach a paved trail. Take left of the trail going back toward th Chalet. About 0.1 mile after passing a bridge, take a trail on right into woods. After crossing a bridge, the trail greadually goes up. Ignore all left side trail, and it veers left going up on a hill and goes back to a paved road and a straight up trail in front of you. Go straight up. At the top of the hill trais braided. Take a trail that goes straight aread. The trail goes underneath a picnic site, along a golf course. Eventually, the trail reaches paved trail, at the courner of Boniface and Debbar. Take left on the pave trail, and you will reach a tunnel on right. Go through the tunnel and you aer other half of the park. About, 0.1 mile from the tunnel, there is a dirt trail left up hill. This is a cross country ski trail with a sign. Follow the sign. At the first open picnic area, trail continues ahead of you. At second opening area, the trail continues on your left. As it nears the Debbar Roard, the trail makes right hair pin discending curve. At the bottom, it veers ascending right. Following the sign, the trail finally comes back to a paved trail. Take right going back to the tunnel. Right after the tunnel, take right straight uphill trail. At the end of the hill, it goes along a fence and comes out to a golf course. Avoid golfers and go back to the Chalet.