Sitka National Historical Park wins Alaska Community Service Award for Health for Park Prescriptions program

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 in early 2013.

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 in early 2013.

Sitka National Historical Park is pleased to announce that its Park Prescriptions program has received the Alaska Community Service Award for Health from the Alaska Public Health Association (ALPHA).

According to ALPHA, Sitka National Historical Park was chosen for its “significant contribution to the health of Alaskans” by fostering “improved personal health through outdoor physical activity” in the park. John Quinley, the assistant regional director from the National Park Service’s Alaska Regional Office, will accept the award on behalf of Sitka National Historical Park at the Alaska Health Summit on Wednesday, Jan. 29, in Anchorage.

SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignAccording to a press release from Sitka National Historical Park Chief of Interpretation and Education Becky Latanich, the park “extends its thanks to the Sitka Heath Summit for its support of the program and to all of the local healthcare providers that have participated in the initiative.  The park also thanks its partners at the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation for sponsoring the program’s participation incentives.”

The Park Prescriptions program strengthens the connection between the health care system and public lands by promoting walking the trails at Sitka National Historical Park to improve physical health, as well as emotional and mental well-being.

Local health providers write park prescriptions to their patients, who fill the park prescriptions by taking walks through the totem trails at Sitka National Historical Park. Every time people take a walk, they get a punchcard stamped at the park’s visitor center, and when the punchcard is full it is entered for quarterly prize drawings.

For more information about the program, contact Ranger Carin Farley at 907-747-0127.

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SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the morning of Thursday, Jan. 23

Senior Hiking Club Jan 2014

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, Jan. 23. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the trailhead.

Photonaturalist Adam Taylor will join us for this hike to Mosquito Cove. He will offer tips on basic digital photo concepts as well as more advanced techniques. Please let us know if you don’t have access to a camera and would like one to use on this hike.

Normally, the group usually picks the trail on the day of the hike, but occasionally a trail is picked before the event. Please note that recently the dates of the senior hikes have changed to Thursdays from Wednesdays. During the winter, hikers are encouraged to bring cleats such as YakTrax, and 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).

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 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 Alli Gabbert at 747-6859 or email her at agabbert@sailinc.org.

• January 2014 calendar of Sitka SAIL events