Sitka’s Senior Walking Group to start weekly hikes beginning on June 3

Walking Group participant poster

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Elder Physical Activity Program is teaming up with Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) and the Sitka Pioneer Home to host weekly hikes for elders. The first hike will be from 10:15-11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 3, at the Sitka National Historical Park totem trails.

This group is designed so elders can get healthy physical activity, but family members and caregivers are encouraged to join the free hikes. The first few will be at the Sitka National Historical Park, but later they will move to other mostly flat trails in town, such as the Sitka Sea Walk and through the streets of downtown Sitka. When the group starts using other trails, the SAIL activity van will be available to pick people up and take them to the trail for a $5 fee.

Elders with canes, crutches and walkers are welcome, and trekking poles will be provided for those who need them. These weekly hikes are low-key and relaxed, and they are for elders of all skills and fitness levels. Hikers are encouraged to bring a bag lunch and join the group for a picnic after the hike.

For more information, contact Emily Reilly at SEARHC at 966-8866, Skye Workman at the Sitka Pioneer Home at 747-2103, or Alli Gabbert of SAIL at 747-6859. Also, volunteers are needed for the program.

 

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SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the morning of Thursday, May 22

Senior Hiking Club May 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, May 22. 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 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 Alli Gabbert at 747-6859 or email her at agabbert@sailinc.org. The calendar below includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• May 2014 calendar of Sitka SAIL ORCA events

Free spring migration bird walks to be held on May Saturdays at Sitka National Historical Park

WesternSandpiper

Western sandpiper (Photo by Arman Moreno, Courtesy of Sitka National Historical Park)

If you are interested in observing and learning about the migrant and resident bird species of Sitka National Historical Park, join a ranger for free guided bird walks Saturday mornings during the month of May. Spring migration bird walks will be held from 8-10 a.m. on Saturdays, May 10, 17, 24 and 31.

These free bird walks are open to beginner and experienced bird watchers and will offer participants the chance to identify and learn about the abundant bird species that depend on the park’s coastal and rain forest ecosystems.

Participants are encouraged to dress warmly and to be prepared to spend two hours outside in variable weather conditions. Participants who have binoculars are encouraged to bring them to the program. There will be a limited number of binoculars available for participants to use during the program and field guides will be provided.

The programs will begin and conclude at the park’s visitor center. For more information about the park’s spring migration bird walks, please contact Ryan Carpenter at (907) 747-0121 or at ryan_p_carpenter@nps.gov.

Sitka Sound Science Center to host A Walk With the Anemones on May 17

WALKWITHTHEANEMONES_final

The Sitka Sound Science Center is excited to announce our upcoming public event “A Walk with the Anemones.”

Join John and Vicki Pearse, who are lifetime intertidal ecologists, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, at Halibut Point Recreation Area (the first parking lot) to explore our amazing rocky intertidal ecosystem.

The Pearses also will teach intertidal lessons with the first-grade students at Baranof Elementary School through the Scientists in the Schools program earlier that week.

For more information, check out our website www.sitkascience.org or call us at 747-8878. No registration required, just meet us at the first parking lot.

Sitka Trail Works releases weekend guided hike schedule for the 2014 summer

SitkaTrailWorkslogoSitka Trail Works will kick off its series of weekend hikes on Saturday, May 10, with an all-day trip to Sea Lion Cove. Most of the weekend hikes are free, but this event involves a short boat ride and costs $100 per person (reservations required).

The series of weekend hikes are led by various members of Sitka Trail Works, and there also are occasional bike rides and kayak trips on the schedule. Most of those near town are free, but some of the hikes require a boat trip and those have fees. The schedule runs through the end of August.

This summer will feature some reconstruction on the Cross Trail starting in June. The section under construction will be between the Gavan intersection and Yaw Drive. The Cross Trail will be open during the work, but hikers should use caution in that area.

On National Trails Day (Saturday, June 7), Sitka Trail Works and other groups will repair storm damage to the Herring Cove Trail. Volunteers are needed for this work party.

Don’t forget to check the Sitka Trail Works website for current trail condition reports. Also, the next Sitka Trail Works board meeting is from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

• Summer 2014 Sitka Trail Works weekend hike schedule

• Spring 2014 Sitka Trail Works newsletter

Walking has its rewards for Paul Perensovich at Sitka National Historical Park

Ann Wilkinson of the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation and Sitka National Historical Park Ranger Ryan Carpenter draw the winning entrant's name in the quarterly drawing of the Park Prescriptions Program. In the program, local health providers prescribe regular hikes for their patients, and those who complete their punch cards are entered into a quarterly drawing for a $100 cash prize. Paul Perensovich was the Spring 2014 winner. (Photo Courtesy of Sitka National Historical Park)

Ann Wilkinson of the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation and Sitka National Historical Park Ranger Ryan Carpenter draw the winning entrant’s name in the quarterly drawing of the Park Prescriptions Program. In the program, local health providers prescribe regular hikes for their patients, and those who complete their punch cards are entered into a quarterly drawing for a $100 cash prize. Paul Perensovich was the Spring 2014 winner. (Photo Courtesy of Sitka National Historical Park)

On Saturday, April 19, Sitka Community Hospital Foundation President Ann Wilkinson, awarded this quarter’s winner of the Park Prescriptions Program with a $100 cash prize. Mike Perensovich, a long-time Sitka resident, Park Watch Volunteer, and Park Prescriptions participant, was the lucky recipient.

Sitka National Historical Park’s award-winning “Park Prescriptions Program” represents a partnership between the National Park Service and various healthcare providers in Sitka. The program provides incentives for the community to get outdoors and exercise to improve health and well-being.

At the drawing, Wilkinson underscored how the “Sitka Community Hospital Foundation is proud to be a sponsor of the Park Prescriptions Program.” She noted that “promoting healthy lifestyle habits is an important part of our mission, and that the Park Prescriptions Program is a great way to encourage walking and enjoying the great outdoors in our National Park.” The foundation announced it will sponsor the program again for another year, providing quarterly $100 prizes for participants who qualify.

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. The Park Prescriptions Program got its start through the Sitka Health Summit.

For more information on how you can start down the path to wellness by participating in the Park Prescriptions Program ask any uniformed Sitka National Historical Park staff or visit www.nps.gov/sitk.