Chamber music and ‘Violins In The Trees’ to highlight Wednesday event at Sitka National Historical Park


People hiking along the totem trails at noon on Wednesday, June 18, at Sitka National Historical Park will be treated to a free outdoor chamber music concert and a “Violins In The Trees” art installation by local artists in the annual Concert In The Park event sponsored by the Sitka Summer Music Festival and the Greater Sitka Arts Council.

There will be a short quarter-mile hike for the free concert, which features Sitka Summer Music Festival artistic director/cellist Zuill Bailey playing the Schubert String Quintet in C Major with the Catalyst Quartet. The annual concert in the park has been a fun event for the festival every year, drawing large crowds of locals and tourists (both music lovers in town for the festival and visitors off the cruise ships). Concert goers should feel free to bring their own folding chairs and blankets.

Hanging off trees along the totem trails will be dozens of Violins In The Trees, old and/or broken violins that local artists paid $25 each to decorate as a benefit for the Greater Sitka Arts Council. The arts council will auction off the decorated violins to raise funds for a variety of events it hosts throughout the year. Last year, the arts council had decorated plywood cutouts of salmon hanging in the trees in recognition of the Salmon in the Trees book about salmon forests by Amy Gulick and the interaction between the salmon, trees and animals of the forest.


SAIL announces a summer of hiking, kayaking, and other outdoors activities, including Only Fools Run at Midnight


Hiking clubs, walking groups, kayaking events, youth adventure clubs, picnics, and the annual Only Fools Run At Midnight fundraiser are just some of the numerous outdoors activities offered this summer by the Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL).

In June, SAIL teamed up with the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Elder Physical Activity Program and the Sitka Pioneer Home to launch a new weekly hiking group for seniors. The group hosts relatively easy hikes from 10:15-11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays at various locations around Sitka, and local seniors, their families and caregivers are encouraged to bring their lunches for a picnic after the walk. Click this link for more info and contacts.

SAIL’s next Senior Hiking Club monthly hike will be from 9:15-11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the trailhead, which will be determined by the group on the day of the hike. Local biologist Kitty LaBounty will join the monthly hike in June.

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. For more information, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Alli Gabbert at 747-6859 or email her at (Note, Bridget Kratz will replace Alli as the SAIL ORCA program coordinator/Jesuit Volunteer later this summer).

OFRAMLogoOnBlackIn addition, the 11th annual Only Fools Run At Midnight costumed fun run/fundraiser for SAIL starts at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, at the Sitka Fire Hall. The 5-kilometer fun run and 1-mile walk are open to anybody, and costumes are encouraged. Please pre-register by 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 19, at the SAIL office (514 Lake St.), the Hames Center, Old Harbor Books, or First Bank, or you can enter on the day of the race starting at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, at the Sitka Fire Hall. Minors need parental permission to participate. Registration is $10 for youth (17 or younger), $20 for adults, and $50 for families of four. You can register by clicking this link, and going to the Sitka listing, or by contacting Dave Nuetzel at or 747-6859

Samsing Kayak FlyerSAIL also started its senior kayaking program in April for seniors (age 60 and older only). The next session is from noon to 4 p.m. on Monday, June 30, at a location TBA (on the ocean), and the event is open to seniors of all experience levels. This event has an activity fee of $25 (scholarships are available). There also will be a three-day kayaking trip to Samsing Cove on July 12-14. The cost for the Samsing Cove trip is $450, with a deposit of $225 due by June 30.

Finally, SAIL will host a community picnic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, at Halibut Point Recreation Area. This event is open to all members of the community. SAIL will provide the grillables, but everybody is asked to bring a side dish or dessert to share.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Alli Gabbert (or Bridget Kratz later this summer) at 747-6859.

• Summer 2014 schedule of SAIL outdoors activities in Sitka

Sitka National Historical Park hosts variety of educational ranger-led walks each day during summer


The Sitka National Historical Park offers daily guided programs teaching Sitka residents and visitors about the park’s natural and cultural resources.

The Battle Walk returns to the battleground and former fort site of the Tlingit-Russian Battle of 1804, which was pivotal in determining the history of the Alaska region. Offered most days, this guided walk is approximately three-quarters of a mile, and lasts about 45 minutes to one hour.

The Totem Walk tells the stories and legends of the totem poles on the Totem Loop Trail, focusing on the common totem figures, the origins of the 1903 John Brady collection, carving methods, and the native culture of Southeast Alaska. Offered most days, this guided walk is approximately one mile, and lasts about 45 minutes to one hour.

The Discovery Talk features topics ranging from local flora to banana slugs to cultural history. Offered most days, the guided walk duration varies with the program.

SNHPsign81109-008-small-500x375Typically, the Battle Walk is at 9 a.m., the Totem Walk is at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and the Discovery Talk is at 2:30 p.m., although the schedule may vary from day to day and all walks aren’t offered each day. Each week’s schedule is posted at this link.

All ranger-led tours meet at the Sitka National Historical Park visitor center on Lincoln Street.

For more information about the ranger-guided tours at Sitka National Historical Park, call the visitor center at 747-0110. Also, don’t forget to get a Park Prescriptions card to log your walks in the park, so you can have a chance to win quarterly prizes for each completed card.

Sitka National Historical Park to host National Trails Day event Saturday, June 7

NTD_2013_copyright2_RGB-1024x1019SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignOn Saturday, June 7, people all around the country will celebrate National Trails Day, a day set aside to celebrate our trails and the great outdoors. A local celebration of National Trails Day will be hosted by Sitka National Historical Park starting at 2 p.m. at the park’s Visitor Center.

In order to make every hike a safe experience, Sitka National Historical Park invites you to an educational event focusing on safety in bear country and an orientation to the recently completed River View Trail.

The event will begin with a showing of The Ends of the Earth, an award winning documentary about the ecosystem of Katmai National Park and Preserve and the Alaska Peninsula, a landscape where bears outnumber people and the sockeye salmon run is the most prolific in the world.

The second part of the event will focus specifically on bear safety and will include a short Bear Spray Training video, a review of basic safety tips regarding hiking in bear country and hands on practice with bear spray techniques using inert canisters. This event focuses on bear spray use and will not include information or discussion about firearms and bears.

The event will conclude with a tour of the recently completed River View Trail with Chief Ranger, Carin Farley. Come see the latest addition to the trail system at Sitka National Historical Park and hear about the tools and techniques that were used by the trail crew from Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park to complete the project last fall.

Sitka National Historical Park’s
National Trails Day event schedule

  • 2 pm – The Ends of the Earth (26-minute video) in the park’s Visitor Center theater
  • 2:30 pm – Bear Spray Training video (12 minutes) in the park’s Visitor Center theater
  • 2:50 pm – Bear spray practice using an inert canister outside the park’s Visitor Center
  • 3:15 pm – Walking tour of the of the new River View Trail starting from the Visitor Center lobby

You are welcome to come for all or part of the event as we join thousands of other people across the country in celebrating the many trails that allow access to the natural world for recreation, education, exploration, solitude, inspiration, and physical and mental health.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more about the National Park Service at Learn more about Sitka National Historical Park at or visit the park’s Facebook page at

Sitka Trail Works sets Herring Cove work party for National Trails Day


SitkaTrailWorksLogoAs part of the American Hiking Society’s 22nd annual National Trails Day on Saturday, June 7, Sitka Trail Works and the U.S. Forest Service Sitka Ranger District are hosting a work party to help spruce up the Herring Cove Trail.

This event will be led by Sarah Bell of Sitka Trail Works and USFS trails specialist Laurent Deviche. This volunteer effort will begin repairs to the upper trail near the waterfall.

All volunteers are encouraged to meet at the Herring Cove Trailhead at 9 a.m. (the trailhead is located six miles east of downtown Sitka on Sawmill Creek Road past the Sawmill Cove Industrial Area). Work on the Herring Cove Trail will continue throughout the summer — including a hike on the Herring Cove Trail and Beaver Lake Loop on June 14 (National Get Outdoors Day) — due to extensive weather damage from Fall 2013, which will take a lot of time and effort to restore the trail.

“National Trails Day encourages Americans to connect with local outdoor clubs, businesses, community groups, and parks and recreation departments, as well as federal land managing agencies, to experience, appreciate, and share the natural places we cherish,” Sitka Trail Works said.