SEARHC, Stride 365 co-host Run for Men’s Health Month on Saturday, June 1

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and Run Sitka’s Stride 365 program will co-host the Run for Men’s Health Month on Saturday, June 1.

Runners should meet at 9 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. race start at the O’Connell Bridge Lightering Facility. The cost of the five-kilometer race and two-mile walk is a donation of $10. Proceeds this month benefit the Sitka Little League.

Each month SEARHC and Run Sitka (#runsitka) host a Stride 365 event on the first Saturday of every month, with proceeds going to a different charity in Sitka. For more information, please contact Lesa Way by email at lesaw@searhc.org, or by phone at 966-8804 or 738-3924.

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City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department to share Lincoln Street project plans at May 22 open house

Option 4A (no u-turn in front of St. Michael’s Cathedral).

Option 2B (keeps u-turn option in front of cathedral).

The City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department has scheduled an open house to discuss construction plans for an upcoming Lincoln Street paving project, from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, in the Chum Room at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The project will re-pave Lincoln from City Hall to the traffic light at Lake Street and Harbor Drive. As required by federal law, CBS will reconstruct all crosswalk ramps within the project limits so that they comply with Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. This will result in re-shaped intersections and modified crosswalks. Conceptual drawings will be posted on the CBS project website (https://www.cityofsitka.com/government/departments/publicworks/projects.html) as they become available.

There are two main options around St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral — one (Option 4A) will eliminate the u-turn in front of the cathedral, where there have been car-pedestrian collisions in recent years, and the other (Option 2B) will continue to allow the u-turn in front of the cathedral (see posted drawings).

“The AutoTURN lines on the non-U-Turn option show how a hearse or similar vehicle can access the pedestrian area in front of the cathedral when needed,” city engineer David Longtin wrote in an email. “I highlighted the relative advantages and disadvantages in red.”

This diagram shows how the sidewalks in front of First National Bank of Alaska and the ADA parking will be modified.

The project will also replace corroding storm drain pipes, construct a water main from Lincoln Street to Seward Street via Cathedral Way and provide safety improvements and additional pedestrian space in front of St. Michael’s Cathedral.

The only other traffic changes will be to American and Barracks streets, which will become one-way streets (American up the hill to the north, Barracks down the hill from the south). Longtin said city officials have decided those two streets are too narrow for two-way traffic.

Construction is planned between the last cruise ship of this season (early October) and the first cruise ship of next season (late April). CBS is committed to minimizing impacts to business owners, vehicle traffic and pedestrians while the work is under way.

Please contact CBS Senior Engineer Dave Longtin at 747-1883 or david.longtin@cityofsitka.org with questions about the project.

• Letter from Doug Osborne about his thoughts on the Lincoln Street upgrade

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the afternoon of Thursday, May 23

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club and Yoga hike will feature yoga at Yoga Union from 1:30-2:45 p.m., followed by hiking on the Sitka National Historical Park totem trails from 3-4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 23. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to Yoga Union and then the Sitka National Historical Park 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 May 2019

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the afternoon of Thursday, May 16

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, May 16. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the Sitka Cross 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, SAIL also will host a Senior Tea and Games Social event from 1:30-3 p.m. on Friday, May 17, at the Swan Lake Senior Center.

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 May 2019

Sitka National Historical Park switches to summer hours on Monday, May 6

Beginning Monday, May 6, Sitka National Historical Park will transition to its summer hours of operation. The Visitor Center will be open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ranger-led interpretive programs will be held daily, with topics focusing on the stories and legends of the totem poles, the Battle of 1804, and other aspects of the park’s natural and cultural history.

The Russian Bishop’s House will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ranger-led programs of the upstairs residence will be offered every thirty minutes on the hour and half hour, with the first program beginning at 9 a.m. and the last tour beginning at 3:30 p.m. The first floor hosts a self-guided museum and video that are available anytime during open hours. The Russian Bishop House is now fee free.

Park trails are now open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cyclists are reminded that bicycles must be walked on park trails. A bicycle rack is provided at the visitor center for those wishing to explore the rest of the park on foot. Visitors are also welcome to walk dogs on park trails, but must keep their pets on a leash and under control at all times and dispose of pet waste properly. We appreciate your cooperation with these important park policies.

For additional information, visit the park’s webpage at http://www.nps.gov/sitk or call the Visitor Center at (907) 747-0110.

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the afternoon of Thursday, May 9

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, May 9. 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.

In addition, SAIL 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. SAIL also will host a Senior Swimming event from 10:45 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, May 8, at the Blatchley Middle School swim pool, with a cost of $5.

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 May 2019

Alaska Walk and Bike Conference to highlight ways to make Alaska more walk and bike friendly

The inaugural Alaska Walk and Bike Conference takes place June 4-8 in Sitka — Alaska’s only community to hold national Walk Friendly Communities and Bicycle Friendly Community designations.

The conference opens with two days of Smart Cycling training from the League of American Bicyclists, followed by two days of walking and biking presentations. The fifth day includes an optional bike ride, an optional hike with harbor cruise, and a Walk/Bike Alaska organizational meeting. The conference costs $40 for the full conference, or $25 for each two-day segment. People can register at http://akwalkbikeconference.eventsmart.com. The Aspen Suites Hotel, where much of the conference will take place, has a block of rooms reserved for the conference, but will release them to the general public on May 3, so book now.

“Having this conference in Sitka is a great opportunity and I’m particularly excited about the team of speakers we have lined up,” said Doug Osborne, Sitka Community Hospital director of health promotion and one of the conference organizers. “The conference is designed so that people can participate ways that fit their interests and schedule. Some will want to complete the Smart Cycling course on Tuesday and Wednesday, others will enjoy doing the whole four-day conference while many will go for an individual session, a lunch and learn, a late afternoon group ride/walk or one of the evening special events. It’s going to be a fun week with a lot of learning, good discussion, and physical activity along the way.”

“The State of Alaska Physical Activity and Nutrition Program is excited to support the 2019 Walk Bike Conference in Sitka occurring at the same time as the Sitka Summer Music Festival,” said Dawn Groth, who works for the Alaska Division of Public Health’s Chronic Disease and Health Promotion program and is another conference organizer. “Sitka’s recognition as both a walk and bicycle friendly city make Sitka the perfect community to host a walk-bike conference. Building active and walkable communities can help support local economies, reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, and encourage safe walking and biking for all ages. Sitka is an example of a community Sitka is an example of a community working to create activity friendly routes to everyday destinations to encourage active people and a healthy nation.”

Elle Steele of Sacramento, Calif., shown here with her two sons (now ages 8 and 10), will lead the Smart Cycling training.

Sitka was honored with a Bronze level Walk Friendly Community designation in 2013 and 2017, and earned a Silver level Bicycle Friendly Community designation in 2016 (with Bronze level designations in 2008 and 2012). Both designations came out of Sitka Health Summit projects, which also led to the creation of Walk Sitka and the Sitka Cycling Club groups to promote walking and biking in Sitka.

The Smart Cycling training part of the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference is designed to help cyclists feel more comfortable and safer riding in traffic. It also is good for educators (especially physical education teachers), youth leaders, and others who might be leading group bike rides with younger students.

The second two-day segment focuses on the Five E’s (Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, Evaluation) that are the main components in the Walk Friendly Communities and Bicycle Friendly Community applications. In addition, there will be presentations on the health benefits of active transportation, accommodations needed for the elderly and disabled, how to start a bike school, and how to conduct a walk audit.

Elle Steele of Sacramento, Calif., who is a League Certified Instructor from the League of American Bicyclists and will lead the Smart Cycling training, will be one of the keynote speakers. She is board president of Trips For Kids Sacramento, a nonprofit that provides bike adventures for underserved youth, and also owns Whimsical Cycle, which promotes riding bikes for everyday transportation.

Lee Hart of Valdez and the Anchorage-based Confluence coalition promoting the outdoor recreation economic sector in Alaska will be a keynote speaker.

Another keynote speaker is Lee Hart of Valdez, who founded an Anchorage-based coalition called Confluence to promote the outdoor recreation economic sector in Alaska. She also founded the Valdez Adventure Alliance which introduced fat-biking and big mountain downhill fat-biking to new riders. Hart spoke about the benefits of outdoor recreation in Sitka in February 2019.

Other speakers include Doug Osborne, Charles Bingham, Holly Marban, Lynne Brandon and Rick Petersen of Sitka; Dawn Groth, Pierce Schwalb, Charlie Lowell and Sarana Schell of Anchorage; and others.

A tentative agenda is posted below. For more information, contact Doug Osborne at (907) 747-0373 or akwalkbikeconference@gmail.com.

• Tentative agenda for 2019 Alaska Walk and Bike Conference in Sitka (last updated May 30, 2019)