Sitka Trail Works releases weekend guided hike schedule for the 2016 summer

SitkaTrailWorksLogoSitka Trail Works will kick off its 2016 summer series of weekend hikes on Saturday, May 7, with a lesson on geocaching taught by volunteers. After a short tutorial at 8:30 a.m. at the Sitka High School entrance to the Cross Trail, participants will go discover some local geocaches (bring a smartphone or GPS device, if you have one).

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 the hikes near town are free (donations are accepted), but some of the hikes require a boat trip and those have fees. The schedule runs through the end of August.

Sitka Trail Works recently announced the repair Heart Lake Stream trail-crossing on the Thimbleberry and Heart Lakes Trail, with a crew led by Troy Bayne. They also fixed part of the Cross Trail. These trails were repaired using state disaster funds following the Aug. 18, 2015, landslide.

On National Trails Day (Saturday, June 4), Sitka Trail Works and other groups will work on repair work to Cross Trail from the water tower to Cascade. This project starts at 9 a.m. on June 4, and people should meet at the Kimsham Trailhead. Tools will be available, but you should bring gloves, pruners and toppers, if you have them.

Don’t forget to check the Sitka Trail Works website for current trail condition reports.

Earth Month activities include the Parade of the Species, a youth eco-challenge, gardening classes, and more


Earth month 2016FlyerEarth Day is on Friday, April 22, and Earth Week is April 17-23. Sitka will host a variety of activities for Earth Week, including a couple of spring clean-up events, an animal mask-making class, a recycled costume-making class, two gardening classes, a nature walk with story-telling, a community hike, a youth eco-challenge, and the 15th annual Earth Day Parade of the Species.

The Alaska Way of Life 4H Club will host a recycled costume-making class from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13. This is a good time for kids to make their costumes for the Parade of the Species. Contact Molly at 747-7509 for more details (including the class location).

The Spruce-Up Sitka Clean-Up seeks volunteers to meet at noon on Thursday, April 14, to pick-up trash around Blue Lake campground. This event requires a hike of about two miles into the campground and two miles out. Contact Galen Paine at (206) 535-0406 for more details.

SpringCleanup2016There also is a community-wide spring clean-up event from April 16-24, when people can bring in a variety of large items and hazardous materials to the transfer station and the Sawmill Cove Scrap Yard. This event is hosted by the City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department.

It’s not on the Earth Month calendar, but the RIDE public transit in Sitka will offer free bus rides again this year during Earth Week (April 18-22). This has been a yearly offering from the RIDE, which is operated by a partnership between Sitka Tribe of Alaska and the nonprofit Center for Community.

Sitka Conservation Society will host a community hike at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, at the Thimbleberry Trailhead. Contact Molly at 747-7509 for details.

The Sitka Public Library (formerly Kettleson Memorial Library) will host an animal mask-making class at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, at the library.

The Sitka Spruce Tips 4H Club and Sitka Native Education Program (SNEP) will host a nature walk with storytelling featuring Chuck Miller teaching traditional Tlingít stories. This event is from 3:45-5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, and you can contact or 747-7509 for registration details (including hike location).

slfn-newlogo copyThe Sitka Local Foods Network will host two free gardening classes during Earth Week. Jennifer Carter will teach “Everyone Can Compost,” which takes place from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street). Michelle Putz will teach “Growing Potatoes in Sitka,” which takes place from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, at her house (131 Shelikof Street). Contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or check the Sitka Local Foods Network website for more details.

2016 Eco-challenge adThe Sitka Conservation Society Earth Day Clean-Up takes place from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, April 22, at a location TBA. SCS staff and board members will be at this event, and car pools are encouraged. Call 747-7509 for more details.

The third annual youth eco-challenge is free and takes place from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 23, at the Sitka National Historical Park. School-aged youth teams (grades 2-8) will test their outdoor skills and teamwork while they make their way through the Sitka National Historical Park. Sign up in teams of four, or as individuals to be put on a team. Teams of multiple ages are recommended. It’s a race. Limited spots available, so register early. Contact Molly Johnson to register, 747-7509 or

Parade of the Species FlyerFinally, the 15th annual Parade of Species, hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society, is on Friday, April 22. Parade participants are invited to dress as their favorite animal or plant and gallop, slither, swim, or fly with us. We will meet in Totem Square at 2:45 p.m. and parade down Lincoln Street to Harrigan Centennial Hall at 3:15 p.m. There will be a number of community organizations with hands-on Earth Day inspired activities for the whole family from 3:30-5:30 p.m. after the parade. Prizes will be awarded for Best Use of Recycled Material, Most Realistic, and Best Local Plant/Animal. For more information, contact or call 747-7509. A slideshow of scenes from the 2015 Parade of the Species is posted below.

• Sitka Earth Month Events Schedule for 2016

• Parade of species flier 2016

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SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the afternoon of Thursday, April 14

Senior Hiking Club April 2016

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 1-3:15 p.m. (note time change) on Thursday, April 14. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the Cross Trail trailhead by Sitka High School.

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 The calendar below includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• April 2016 calendar of Sitka SAIL ORCA events

Get up and move on Wednesday, April 6, for National Walking Day


Wednesday, April 6, is the American Heart Association‘s National Walking Day, and on this day companies, organizations and individuals across America are going to wear sneakers to work, take 30 minutes to walk and pledge to live heart-healthy lives.

Photo courtesy of Sitka National Historical Park

Photo courtesy of Sitka National Historical Park

These days, adults like spend more time at work than ever before, much of it chained to a desk. An unfortunate side effect is that, as a nation, we’re becoming more inactive. This is a problem when you consider the fact that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease.

On National Walking Day, employees are encouraged to wear sneakers to work and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk. It’s a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to give your co-workers a friendly push toward a healthier life.

By downloading the National Walking Day toolkit, worksite employee wellness teams can design one-day walking events or six-week walking programs to help get employees and bosses more active. Some tips include holding walking meetings, setting up printers so you have to walk down the hall to get your printouts, standing up every time you talk on the phone, and holding lunchtime walks. Getting out and walking helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, some forms of cancer and other medical conditions, and walking also helps relieve work stress and gives employees a chance to recharge for the rest of the work day.

In Sitka, people can participate in a variety of walking/hiking programs, such as Park Prescriptions and the Park Prescriptions Active April Challenge, the Senior Walking Hours program at the Hames Center, the Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) Senior Hiking Club (note, next hike is 1-3:15 p.m. on April 14 on the Cross Trail), Sitka Trail Works, and more. Or they can walk on their own, with family or their dogs. Just get out and enjoy Sitka’s natural beauty by hiking one of Sitka’s numerous trails, the Sitka Sea Walk, or through the totem trails at Sitka National Historical Park.