SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the morning of Thursday, Dec. 17

Senior Hiking Club December 2015

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 1-3 p.m. (note time change) on Thursday, Dec. 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.

• December 2015 calendar of Sitka SAIL ORCA events

SAIL and Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H program to offer hiking club event on Thursday, Dec. 17

December SAIL and 4H hike

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) recently announced a partnership with the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H program to create a hiking club that will meet once a month. This month’s hike will be from 3:45-5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Cross Trail trailhead located behind Sitka High School.

The SAIL and 4-H Hiking Club is part of SAIL’s Youth Adventure Club program, with two monthly events (only one is the hike) on Wednesdays for youth of all abilities ages 7-14. SAIL Youth Adventure Club events have a $10 fee, but nobody will be turned away due to finances. Pick-up service is available from various Sitka schools with advance arrangements.

To learn more about the SAIL Youth Adventure Club, 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.

The Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H program is coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society, in partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service (which operates the Alaska 4-H program throughout the state). For more information about the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H program, contact Mary Wood or Molly Johnson of the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or mary@sitkawild.org or molly@sitkawild.org.

• December 2015 calendar of Sitka SAIL ORCA events

Sitka National Historical Park hosts winter bird walk on Saturday, Dec. 12

Winter Bird Walk Poster 2015 (2)

WesternSandpiperAre you interested in viewing, identifying and learning about Sitka’s winter bird residents? Do you need a refresher before participating in the Christmas Bird Count?

If so, you are in luck! People of all ages and levels of birdwatching experience are invited to participate in a free winter bird walk from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12, at Sitka National Historical Park. Participants will meet inside the Visitor Center and then explore the park viewing birds throughout the park’s various ecosystems.

Interested parties should dress warmly and be prepared to spend the majority of their time outside in variable weather conditions. Participants who have binoculars are encouraged to bring them. A limited number of binoculars and field guides will be available for participants to borrow during the event.

For more information, please contact Ryan Carpenter at (907) 747-0121 or at ryan_p_carpenter@nps.gov.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more about Sitka National Historical Park at http://www.nps.gov/sitk or visit the park’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaNationalHistoricalPark.

Alaska DOT&PF to host meeting about Sawmill Creek Road resurfacing and pedestrian improvement project

12-10-15 Poster

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) will host a meeting from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10, at the Sealing Cove Business Center (106 Alice Loop Road, on Japonski Island) to discuss the upcoming Sawmill Creek Road resurfacing and pedestrian/bicycle improvement project.

This project has been listed on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) for several years, but the state was waiting for the city to finish its Hollywood Way and Baranof Road projects before starting this one. Now that those projects, which involved fixing water and sewer infrastructure below the roads, are done, the plan is to tackle the Sawmill Creek Road project starting in Fiscal Year 2017.

According to the project description (on Page 274 of the 2016-19 STIP), the Sawmill Creek Road project will “Improve Sawmill Creek Road to make it more accessible to pedestrians including those with disabilities and improve mobility of bikers. This project will widen sidewalks on the north side of Sawmill Creek Road from the roundabout at HPR/LAKE/SCR to Jeff Davis. Narrow (car) travel lanes and add 4-foot bike lanes. Install concrete median to better delineate SCR and DeGroff. Resurface the entire project length. Make the connection from the existing bike path to the Jarvis crosswalk ADA-compliant.”

The meeting will be hosted by the project’s design team for the purpose of introducing the project and to seek public input for the preliminary plan. For more information, contact Chris Schelb in Juneau at 465-4447 or chris.schelb@alaska.gov.