About Meals Hill
Meals Hill is 184 acres of public land located near the Valdez Ferry Terminal that is permanently protected by a conservation easement. The Meals Hill property is a significant landmark with environmentally diverse habitat, and it has the potential to be a recreational destination for the City of Valdez.
The City of Valdez Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Department is beginning the process for the Meals Hill Master Plan. This master planning process will help guide development of the Meals Hill property in the years to come, and incorporate community feedback and vision about what is important to those in Valdez.
History of the Land
It’s likely that the land in and around Meals Hill was used by the Alaska Native Chugach and Ahtna tribes as their people migrated to the north and south of current day Valdez.
More recently, George Cheever Hazelet and Andrew Jackson Meals arrived in Valdez in 1898 in search of gold. They didn’t find much gold and laid claim to some of the pristine and magnificent lands they found. Both men were heavily involved in the founding of the City of Valdez, and were early voices advocating to move the townsite form the “Old Town” to where it currently resides.
The Great Land Trust purchased the property from the Port Valdez Company in November 2019 using Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) Trustee Council funds and subsequently transferred the land to the City of Valdez. The property is permanently protected by a conservation easement, ensuring it will remain open to the public for recreation and that its valuable wildlife habitat will remain undeveloped.
The protection of Meals Hill provides access to tourism and recreational opportunities by making public an easily-accessible coastal property with existing trails for non-motorized recreation along the coast adjacent to and within walking distance from the Valdez Ferry Terminal, Civic Center Overlook Trail, and coastal walkway to the Valdez Small Boat Harbor. Other recreational uses of the property include hiking, skiing, mountain biking, bird and wildlife viewing, and berry picking.
Characteristics of Meals Hill
Meals Hill is a prominent landscape feature in Valdez, providing open space, habitat, and recreational opportunities adjacent to downtown Valdez. The property is unique coastal bedrock feature that stands above the city. It contains undisturbed coastal rain forest, one mile of rocky coastline, and wetlands in the low-lying areas between the parallel ridges of the hill. There is an existing gravel road leading to the overlook at the summit of the hill, that is used by many hikers and walkers.