Sitka Trail Works releases weekend guided hike schedule for the 2019 spring and summer

Sitka Trail Works will kick off its 2019 summer series of weekend hikes on Saturday, May 4, with a moderate to strenuous bike ride of up to 10 miles along the Cross Trail. Meet at 10:30 a.m. at the Cross Trail access point near the Sitka Performing Arts Center (behind Sitka High School) to join the ride.

That will be followed on Sunday, May 12, by a short hike on the Ben Grussendorf Forest and Muskeg Estuary Trail. Meet at 1:30 p.m. at the gravel boat launch at Starrigavan State Park to join the hike.

The series of weekend hikes are led by various members of Sitka Trail Works, and there also are occasional geocaching events, 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.

On National Trails Day (Saturday, June 1), Sitka Trail Works and other groups will do repair work to Thimbleberry Trail starting at 9 a.m. Tools will be available, but you should bring gloves, pruners and toppers, if you have them.

In other news, Sitka Trail Works has completed all of the permitting and raised all of the funding needed to start and complete Phase 6 of the Sitka Cross Trail Multi-Use Pathway. The goal is to finish the Cross Trail by 2021.

Don’t forget to check the Sitka Trail Works website for current trail condition reports and hike updates (several hikes have changed dates since originally announced.

• Spring 2019 Sitka Trail Works newsletter

• Sitka Trail Works 2019 hike schedule (updated April 1)

Walk MS Sitka on May 4 will raise money for multiple sclerosis research and awareness

 

Sitka will host its fifth Walk MS event on Saturday, May 4, but this year there will be some changes. This year there’s an earlier start to the event — 10 a.m. walk start (registration at 9:30 a.m.) — and the event starts and ends at the Crescent Harbor Shelter now instead of out by the industrial park. There also are some new partners helping host the event in Sitka.

This is the 29th anniversary of Walk MS, a national series of walks to raise money for programs and services, research, treatment and awareness of multiple sclerosis. Walk MS Sitka will feature a short course from Crescent Harbor Shelter along the Sitka Sea Walk to the Sitka Sound Science Center and back, and there’s a longer Stride 365 run/walk course that takes people from Crescent Harbor Shelter to the airport and back.

From left, Dillon Peavey, 9, Jaden Costelo 9, and Jaira Costelo, 8, lead the first Walk MS Sitka event Saturday morning, May 30, 2015. About 100 people participated in the walk from the Gary Paxton Industrial Park to Whale Park. Although donations were accepted, (2015 event) organizers Patricia Atkinson and Colleen Dahlquist said the event was held to raise awareness of the chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. It is thought to be an immune-mediated disorder, in which the immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue in the central nervous system. MS can cause many symptoms, including blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, and blindness, and more. These problems may come and go or persist and worsen over time. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50 years old, although individuals as young as 2 and as old as 75 have developed it.

Participants can register as individuals or teams by going to the event’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/WalkMSSitka/. People also can register onsite at the Crescent Harbor Shelter. Participants can collect donations to help fight MS (those funds raised in Sitka stay in Alaska) by having people sponsor their teams or individual entries, but event organizers said it’s just as important to have people walk or run as it is to raise money.

To learn more about MS, go to http://www.nationalmssociety.org. To find other larger Walk MS events around the country, go to http://www.walkms.org. People also can register onsite at the Sawmill Cove Industrial Park. If you can’t make the actual walk, you still can go online and pledge your financial support. All money raised in Alaska stays in Alaska.

For more information, contact local coordinators Colleen Dahlquist at (907) 738-0477 or Heleena Van Veen at (907) 966-8915 in Sitka, or contact the National MS Society at (800) 344-4867. You also can like the Walk MS Sitka page on Facebook to get updates.

• Multiple Sclerosis 101 (facts about MS)

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the afternoon of Thursday, April 25

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 3-4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 25. There will be yoga from 1:30-3 p.m. at Yoga Union before the hike. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to Yoga Union and then the Sitka National Historical Park Totem Trails.

Normally, the group 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.

In addition, this week there also will be a senior tea and games social from 1:30-3 p.m. on Friday, April 26, at the Swan Lake Senior Center. SAIL also will host a wildlife and ice cream cruise from 1:15-4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, leaving from Crescent Harbor. This special Allen Marine harbor cruise costs $50 (bring your mom for free if you buy a ticket), and is wheelchair-accessible.

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 Joel Hanson at 747-6859 or email him at jhanson@sailinc.org. The calendar includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• SAIL events calendar for April 2019

Earth Month activities include the 18th annual Parade of the Species, a youth eco-challenges event, free bus rides, and more

Earth Day is on Monday, April 22, and Earth Week this year is Sunday through Saturday, April 21-27. Sitka will host a variety of activities for Earth Week, including a couple of spring clean-up events, a couple of gardening classes, free bus rides, a herring potluck, and the 18th annual Earth Day Parade of the Species. For a calendar link to the events list, click here.

There is a community-wide spring clean-up event from April 20-28, when people can bring in a variety of large items and hazardous materials to the transfer station and the Sawmill Cove Scrap Yard (hazardous materials are only accepted April 27-28). This event is hosted by the City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department.

The RIDE public transit in Sitka will offer free bus rides again this year during Earth Week (April 22-26). 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.

Exchange students in Sitka will take part in Community Conversations About Earth Day, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi.

The Ugly Side of Plastic art show takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 18-19 at 124 Lincoln Street, in the small upstairs entryway next to The Silver Basin store.

There is a Tlingít potato workshop from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19, hosted by the U.S. Forest Service Sitka Ranger District and Sitka Tribe of Alaska. This event takes place at the Sitka Ranger District office, 2108 Halibut Point Road.

The 18th annual Parade of Species, hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society, is on Friday, April 19. 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 3:15 p.m. and parade down Lincoln Street to the Sitka Sound Science Center starting at 3:30 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, Best Local Plant, Best Local Animal, Best Group Costume, and Best Costume Age 18-plus. For more information, contact Claire Sanchez at claire@sitkawild.org or call 747-7509. Click this link for a slideshow of scenes from the 2018 Parade of the Species.

Sitka National Historical Park and Sitka Sound Science Center are hosting an Eco-Challenges event for youth of all ages from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 20, starting at the Sitka Conservation Society office above Old Harbor Books.

Alaskan Brewing Company will sponsor a Coastal CODE Cleanup from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, meeting at the Sitka Sound Science Center. There is a barbecue at 4 p.m. for all participants.

The Alaska Raptor Center will host an Earth Day celebration for the whole family from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, at the Alaska Raptor Center.

Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School and Sitka Conservation Society will host a “We Love Our Fisherfolk” lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, at the school.

Finally, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, in Room 229 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, there will be a Natural History Seminar on Sitka’s Landslide Warning System. Future landslide geology studies and the related social science research on developing a landslide warning system unique to Sitka will be addressed. For more information, contact Cora Siebert at 747-8878, extension 11.

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the afternoon of Thursday, April 18

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 1:30-4 p.m. on Thursday, April 18. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the Herring Cove Trail trailhead.

Normally, the group 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 Joel Hanson at 747-6859 or email him at jhanson@sailinc.org. The calendar includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• SAIL events calendar for April 2019

U.S. Coast Guard to host fun run April 12 for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and the U.S. Coast Guard Sitka units will host a five-kilometer (5K) fun run at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, April 12, through downtown Sitka. The race starts and finishes at the Crescent Harbor shelter.

In addition to the 5K fun run, Sitkans Against Family Violence will have an information booth about sexual assault and prevention. All runners and walkers are encouraged to wear a piece of clothing with teal. Teal ribbons will be given to all entrants.

 

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the afternoon of Thursday, April 11

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 1:30-4 p.m. on Thursday, April 11. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the Mosquito Cove Trail trailhead.

Normally, the group 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.

In addition to this week’s senior hike, there is a senior swimming event from 10:45 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, April 10, at the Blatchley Swim Pool. This event has a $5 fee.

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 Joel Hanson at 747-6859 or email him at jhanson@sailinc.org. The calendar includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• SAIL events calendar for April 2019