SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the morning of Thursday, Sept. 3

SHC Sept. 3 2015

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 9:15-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3, with guest hiker Molly Johnson of the Sitka Conservation Society. This is the first of two Senior Hiking Club events in September (the other is Sept. 17). Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the trailhead.

Normally, the group usually picks the trail on the day of the hike, but occasionally a trail is picked before the event. SAIL makes trekking poles available for hikers to use (trekking poles are great on ice or uneven terrain, and they help seniors keep their balance), and hikers are encouraged to bring ice cleats such as YakTrax during the icy months of winter.

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Thursday. There is a $5 fee, but nobody will be turned away because of finances. The hikes are open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, check out our January 2013 post introducing the club.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior cycling events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Claire Sanchez at 747-6859 or email her at csanchez@sailinc.org. The calendar below includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• September 2015 calendar of Sitka SAIL ORCA events

Edgecumbe Drive Reconstruction Project nearing completion, with a safer biking and walking path

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10-24-13-Edgecumbe-Drive-sign-e1382728578427The Edgecumbe Drive Reconstruction Project is nearly ready for paving and completion, according to a Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, cover story in the Daily Sitka Sentinel (note, password required to view story on website). The article also highlighted the safer biking and walking facilities on the mile-long stretch of road, which include safer crosswalks, a multi-use path, and Sitka’s second roundabout (or third, if you count the one around St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral).

The project includes a new 10-foot-wide multi-use path on one side of the street for pedestrians and cyclists. The path is intended to provide a safe route for slow-moving bikes and pedestrians to travel. Edgecumbe Drive’s proximity to Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School was a major driver in the decision to provide this pedestrian amenity.

The new separated multi-use path replaces a narrow bike path on the downhill side of the roadway. The now-10-foot-wide path, which uses space from the narrowed traffic lanes, will be shared by cyclists and walkers.

“We didn’t like it because it encouraged wrong-way bike travel,” David Longtin, senior engineer with the City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department, told the Sentinel. “People wanted to use the bike path, but when they were heading north then they were on the wrong side of the road, and that’s something we wanted to eliminate.”

City and state law require bicyclists to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, for safety reasons. Walkers are to walk on the left side of the road, opposing traffic, when there isn’t a sidewalk or multi-use path available. Cyclists traveling at traffic speed can use the road, but should ride on the right side.

Longtin said paving on the path may start as soon as Saturday, if weather cooperates. Paving the main road will follow after the path is completed. Longtin told the Daily Sitka Sentinel that the construction crews can pave about 150 linear feet per hour, so the whole street should be paved within a week, depending on the weather.

Another new feature is a roundabout near the top of Kimsham Street, near where Edgecumbe Drive, Washusetts, Kimsham, and private driveway meet. The roundabout was added to the plans about a month ago, and it replaces the five-way intersection originally in the plans. While there is some increased cost ($140,000 to the $4.6 million project), Longtin said the roundabout will be a safer alternative. Roundabouts reduce collisions by 37 percent and fatal wrecks by 90 percent compared to intersections controlled by stop signs, according to Federal Highway Administration studies.

“It’ll cost some, but we feel it’ll be a good safety improvement and it’ll keep traffic moving,” Longtin said. “There’s fewer collisions and when there is a collision it’s more of a glancing blow than a t-bone collision.”

Other safety improvements from the project include bulb-outs at the Edgecumbe Drive crosswalks near Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School (which narrow the traffic lanes near intersections to slow cars and make it a shorter distance for pedestrians to cross), and rectangular rapid-flash beacons to to warn drivers of the crosswalk. There also will be buttons on all four corners of the intersection that will light the beacons so drivers know somebody is about to use the crosswalk. These traffic lights are powered by solar panels designed for Sitka’s latitude and light conditions.

Sitka Trail Works provides landslide trail status update and announces this Saturday’s hike

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On Saturday, Aug. 29, Sitka Trail Works will lead a hike on the newly repaired Herring Cove trail. The hike will include the loop around Beaver Lake before returning to the trailhead. Meet at 9 a.m. at the trailhead at the end of Sawmill Creek Road.

The Herring Cove trail has numerous stone steps and some short, steep sections, but is suitable for a person of average physical ability. There are three waterfalls and a lake adjacent proposed hiking route. The 2014 storm damage that occurred to this trail was repaired earlier this year in a joint effort by Sitka Trail Works and the U.S Forest Service Sitka Ranger District, with grant funding from the State of Alaska Recreational Trails Program. Sitka Trail Works board member Deanna Bennett will lead this hike.

As a result of the Aug. 18 landslides, several trails are closed or impassable, and the public is to avoid those areas and select alternate trail areas.

The Cross Trail from Cascade Creek to Kramer is closed to preserve site control of the landslide remediation efforts. The remainder of the Cross Trail, from Cascade Creek through to Indian River, is somewhat damaged, but passable. The trail to Heart Lake from Blue Lake Road is impassable and closed. Blue Lake Road remains closed to pedestrian traffic.

The Gavan Hill Trail to Harbor Mountain above the Cross Trail to the Lookout is impassable. The Gavan Trail below the Cross Trail to Baranof trailhead is closed as crews work to remove the old boardwalk. The Gavan route from Baranof trailhead to the Cross Trail is being replaced with a new section of the Cross Trail and will be reopened later this summer. The trail to Beaver Lake from the Sawmill Creek campground at the end of Blue Lake road was also damaged by slides and should be avoided.

Trails undamaged by the landslides include all three in the Starrigavan area, Indian River, Verstovia and Herring Cove.

For more information, visit the Sitka Trail Works website or call the office at 747-7244.

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the morning of Thursday, Aug. 20

Senior Hiking Club August 2015

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 9:15-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the trailhead.

Normally, the group usually picks the trail on the day of the hike, but occasionally a trail is picked before the event. SAIL makes trekking poles available for hikers to use (trekking poles are great on ice or uneven terrain, and they help seniors keep their balance), and hikers are encouraged to bring ice cleats such as YakTrax during the icy months of winter.

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Thursday. There is a $5 fee, but nobody will be turned away because of finances. The hikes are open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, check out our January 2013 post introducing the club.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior cycling events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Claire Sanchez at 747-6859 or email her at csanchez@sailinc.org. The calendar below includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• August 2015 calendar of Sitka SAIL ORCA events

Sitkans Against Family Violence seeks coaches for Boys Run: I Toowú Klatseen program

BoysRun_2015CoachesPromoPoster

Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) is seeking coaches for its Boys Run: I toowú klatseen (strength of spirit) program.

This after-school empowerment program for boys teaches them healthy relationship and respect skills while training towards a 5-kilometer fun run later this fall. It is modeled after the Girls On The Run program, which meets in the spring.

The deadline for potential coaches to complete their applications is Saturday, Aug. 15, and coach training takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29 (lunch is provided). The Boys Run program will meet from 2:30-4:15 p.m. on Mondays/Wednesdays and Tuesdays/Thursdays through December.

For more information, contact Eleyna Rosenthal at SAFV at vista@safv.org, or send an email to schools@safv.org. The coaches application and job description is posted below.

• 2015 Boys Run Coaches Job Description

• 2015 Boys Run Coach Application Final

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the morning of Thursday, July 30

Senior Hiking July 2015

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 9:15-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 30. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the trailhead.

Normally, the group usually picks the trail on the day of the hike, but occasionally a trail is picked before the event. SAIL makes trekking poles available for hikers to use (trekking poles are great on ice or uneven terrain, and they help seniors keep their balance), and hikers are encouraged to bring ice cleats such as YakTrax during the icy months of winter.

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Thursday. There is a $5 fee, but nobody will be turned away because of finances. The hikes are open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, check out our January 2013 post introducing the club.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior cycling events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Bridget Kratz at 747-6859 or email her at bkratz@sailinc.org. The calendar below includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• July 2015 calendar of Sitka SAIL ORCA events

New trail traffic counters installed at Sitka National Historical Park

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SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignHave you noticed little brown boxes on some of Sitka National Historical Park’s trailside signs?

The park recently installed four traffic counters along the park’s scenic trails. The trail counters are not cameras, they simply provide park managers with an accurate count of the number of people who recreate on the park’s trails. This information is used for annual reporting requirements, budgeting purposes, and maintenance requests.

The original counters were installed in 2014 without protection cases, but were damaged by vandals and the weather.  The counters and their batteries are now encased in brown boxes to protect them from the elements, specifically rain.

Also, a reminder to all cyclists that people are to walk their bicycles through the park trails, not ride them. This is for safety reasons, as there are many elders and children hiking on the trails who may not hear the bikes coming up behind them. In addition, the restriction on biking helps prevent erosion and other damage to the trails. And a reminder that metal detectors are prohibited in all national parks, including Sitka National Historical Park.

Since 2011, there have been no fees collected at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center, which includes the cultural center where Native carving is demonstrated. The only fees are at the Russian Bishop’s House, which uses this fee schedule.