Mike Wise and Tom Jacobsen to speak about hiking the Appalachian and Pacific Coast trails

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Mike Wise and Tom Jacobsen will give presentations on their recent hikes of the Appalachian and Pacific Coast trails at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, at Kettleson Memorial Library.

Mike will discuss his hike over a section of the Appalachian Trail, which runs from near Atlanta, Ga., to Mt. Kathadin, Maine, a distance of about 2,180 miles. Mike and his family/friends hiked 135 miles of the trail, from Pennsylvania to mid-Virginia, which took him about 11 days. Hiking the Appalachian Trail was the focus of Bill Bryson’s popular book, “A Walk In The Woods” (second book listed). A few of Mike’s photos make up the slideshow at the top of this post.

“I over-nighted in different 3-sided shelters each night, carried all my food and supplies, and filtered water from local springs I found along the trail,” Mike said. “The AT (Appalachian Trail) is 2,180 miles long, traverses 14 states, and is marked with approximately 80,000 trail blazes.  About 2,000 hikers start out at the southern end of the trail near Atlanta with hopes of finishing at Mt. Kathadin in Maine.  About 200 a year actually complete the hike. ”

Tom will discuss his hike of the John Muir Trail, which is a section of the Pacific Coast Trail that runs from Canada to Mexico. The John Muir Trail runs from through the Sierra Nevadas for about 215 miles from Yosemite National Park to Mt. Whitney, Calif. This was the third time Tom has hiked the John Muir Trail, and he was joined over part of the trail by his two daughters and their boyfriends.

Mike and Tom will each have slideshows from their trips, but Tom said the presentations are about more than recounting their epic adventures.

“I’ll discuss logistics and how to prepare for a hike like this,” Tom said. “I’ll talk about planning, permits, how to get your pack weight down below 20 pounds, what kind of food to take. My hope is to be a mentor for others who want to take this hike. … And I also want to remind people about the trails we have here in Sitka, right in our backyard. These are world-class trails that people pay a lot of money to come hike.”

Kettleson Memorial Library has been hosting several recent talks about hiking in Sitka and elsewhere recently. On Sunday, Feb. 24, Jeff Budd and Laura Kaltenstein talked about hiking El Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of St. James, pilgrimage trail in northwestern Spain. At 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, Carin Farley with the Sitka National Historical Park and Deborah Lyons with Sitka Trail Works will talk about The Trails of Sitka, and there will be a gear exchange just before the talk from 3-4:30 p.m.

Carin Farley and Deborah Lyons to discuss ‘The Trails of Sitka’ in Sitka Conservation Society’s Backwoods and Waters lecture series

TrailsofSitka_talkCarin Farley from the Sitka National Historical Park and Deborah Lyons of Sitka Trail Works will discuss “The Trails of Sitka” on Sunday, March 10, as part of the Sitka Conservation Society‘s Backwoods and Waters lecture series. The talk takes place at 5 p.m. on March 10, at Kettleson Memorial Library, with a gear exchange from 3-4:30 p.m. just before the talk.

Carin and Deborah will provide an update on Sitka’s trail system, including information about what various agencies, non-profit groups and volunteers are doing to create a world-class trail system in Sitka. This is a good time to learn how you can become involved, so you can help Sitka as it works to complete the Sitka Trail Plan of 2003 (note, opens as PDF file). Carin also will discuss the new Park Prescriptions program, where local health providers write prescriptions for their patients to take hikes at Sitka National Historical Park.

“Carin and I will just be trying to get people excited about hiking the trails and walking in the park,” Deborah said. “It’s just a feel-good thing. I’ll be sharing about how we are working to complete our Trail Plan with projects at the (Fort Rousseau) Causeway (State Historic Site) and the Sawmill Creek Phase III upgrade scheduled for this year.”

In addition to the talk, there also will be a gear exchange so Sitka residents can swap, sell, barter and trade unused or outgrown outdoor gear. There will be tables set up for people to use in the exchange.

For more information, contact Ray Friedlander at the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or ray@sitkawild.org.

Walk Sitka group to meet on Wednesday, Feb. 27, to discuss Sitka’s walkability

Photo courtesy of Sitka National Historical Park

Photo courtesy of Sitka National Historical Park

Are you concerned about walking conditions in Sitka? Do you have ideas about how we can improve the local walking experience and make it safer? Then join Walk Sitka at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Sitka Public Health Center (210 Moller, between the Moller Park baseball fields and the entrance to Sitka Community Hospital) as we meet to discuss Sitka’s walkability.

Walk Sitka is a group formed after the 2012 Sitka Health Summit, when community members chose improving Sitka’s walkability as one of the three community wellness projects for 2012-13. As part of its project, Walk Sitka will apply for a national Walk Friendly Communities award using the community walkability assessment tool developed by the WFC program. Recent research has shown that walkable communities improve local health and economies.

At recent meetings Walk Sitka group members have been reviewing different parts of the WFC application, and we will be going over these sections when we meet on Feb. 27. We also will be looking at our application plans as we aim for the May 1-June 15 application period.

For more information about the group, contact Elisabeth Crane at 747-0386 or Charles Bingham at 738-8875, or visit our new website at https://walksitka.wordpress.com/. To learn more about about the Walk Friendly Commuities program, go to http://www.walkfriendly.org/.

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets March hike for the morning of March 20

Senior Hiking Club Mar 2013

Outdoor Skills CourseThe 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 Wednesday, March 20. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the trailhead chosen by the group that day.

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Wednesday. 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 post introducing the club.

In addition, SAIL’s ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program is hosting an outdoor skills and survival class that will meet once a month from February through May. The group will meet from 3-4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, March 26, April 30 and May 28 at a location TBA. There is a $10 fee for each activity.

The course will teach people basic outdoor skills and survival skills so they can be used during larger group trips later in the summer. The course is open to all ages and abilities, and the activities are meant to be all-inclusive so all can participate even if they need adaptive help.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club and the outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA program coordinator Nick Ponzetti at 747-6859.

Assembly gives approval for Sitka Sea Walk project to go out to bid

A man walks along the sidewalk/trail above Crescent Harbor in January 2013. This sidewalk will become part of the Sitka Sea Walk.

A man walks along the sidewalk/trail above Crescent Harbor in January 2013. This sidewalk will become part of the Sitka Sea Walk.

The Sitka Assembly on Tuesday, Feb. 12, gave its approval for the Sitka Sea Walk to go out to bid. It’s expected the $1.8 million project could start construction as soon as this summer.

In a KCAW-Raven Radio story wrapping up the Assembly meeting posted on Wednesday, Feb. 13, it was noted how pedestrians trying to walk from Crescent Harbor have sidewalks end and must cross the street a couple of times on their walks to Sitka National Historical Park. The Sitka Sea Walk will make one continuous trail along the water side of the road, with some detours into the woods and with a path wide enough for a wheelchair.

To learn more about the Sitka Sea Walk project, check out our January post about the project. The post included links to the city’s project website, which features videos and other presentations showing how the Sitka Sea Walk will look once it’s completed.

Walk Sitka group to meet on Wednesday, Feb. 20, to discuss Sitka’s walkability

WinterWalkingStPetersAre you concerned about walking conditions in Sitka? Do you have ideas about how we can improve the local walking experience and make it safer? Then join Walk Sitka at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Swan Lake Senior Center as we meet to discuss Sitka’s walkability.

Walk Sitka is a group formed after the 2012 Sitka Health Summit, when community members chose improving Sitka’s walkability as one of the three community wellness projects for 2012-13. As part of its project, Walk Sitka will apply for a national Walk Friendly Communities award using the community walkability assessment tool developed by the WFC program. Recent research has shown that walkable communities improve local health and economies.

At recent meetings Walk Sitka group members have been reviewing different parts of the WFC application, and we will be going over these sections when we meet on Feb. 20. At our Jan. 23 meeting we approved a mission and vision statement that also lists the group’s goals.

For more information about the group, contact Elisabeth Crane at 747-0386 or Charles Bingham at 738-8875, or visit our new website at https://walksitka.wordpress.com/. To learn more about about the Walk Friendly Commuities program, go to http://www.walkfriendly.org/.

• Walk Sitka vision, mission statement and goals

Park Prescriptions helps people get healthy through walks at Sitka National Historical Park

Sitka National Historical Park Senior Ranger Carin Farley, right, celebrates with Eric and Sarah Jordan after they became the first people to complete a Park Prescriptions punch card.

Sitka National Historical Park Senior Ranger Carin Farley, right, celebrates with Eric and Sarah Jordan after they became the first people to complete a Park Prescriptions punch card.

Getting healthy is as simple as taking a hike, and a new program called Park Prescriptions has local health providers write prescriptions for Sitka residents to hike the totem trails at Sitka National Historical Park. The Park Prescriptions program was one of the community wellness projects to come out of the 2011 Sitka Health Summit.

Various forms of Park Prescriptions programs have been popping up at national parks throughout the country as part of the National Park Service’s Healthy Parks Healthy People US program. The basic premise is local health providers write prescriptions for their patients, encouraging them to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of a hike in the local national park. In Sitka’s program, participants receive a Parks Prescription punch card, which they punch every time they take a hike. When they complete a card, it’s turned in for a drawing with incentives.

Park Prescriptions FinalThe Sitka Parks Prescription program was launched during National Trails Day on June 2, 2012. The program is a partnership between the Sitka National Historical Park and the health providers at Sitka Community Hospital, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Division of Public Health (some, but not all providers have the prescription pads, so ask for them).

On Thursday, Sitka National Historical Park Senior Ranger Carin Farley and Sitka resident Eric Jordan were interviewed by Holly Keen of KCAW-Raven Radio about Park Prescriptions (click here to listen to the interview). Carin discussed the program and how it started, while Eric (who with his wife Sarah completed the first punch card) talked about what he felt were the benefits of the program. To learn more about the program, contact your Sitka health provider or stop by the Sitka National Historical Park visitors center.

• Information sheet about the Park Prescriptions program at Sitka National Historical Park

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