New wayfinding signs find their way onto Sitka streets and alleys

The new wayfinding kiosk near the tour bus stop on the side of Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Kiosk looking toward Crescent HarborOver the last couple of weeks, Sitka residents and visitors have seen 41 new wayfinding signs pop up on Sitka streets, as well as a new information kiosk just outside Harrigan Centennial Hall. These are part of a lengthy project by Visit Sitka, the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce, and the City and Borough of Sitka to update the wayfinding signs in Sitka.

The new signs use estimated walking times instead of distances to show how far away key landmarks are (using about 10 minutes to represent a half-mile, or slightly less than a kilometer). The use of times instead of distances not only encourages walking, but it also is less confusing to foreign tourists used to the metric system. The designs also include Tlingít formline elements, to honor our local Alaska Native culture.

“The Sitka Wayfinding System was installed in September 2018 (and into October),” said Rachel Roy, executive director of the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and Visit Sitka. “This comprehensive and unified directional sign system was customized for our community. Funded with the Commercial Passenger Excise Tax (CPET, or cruise tax) funds, the City of Sitka and a planning committee of tourism industry representatives worked with Great Destinations Strategies to develop a new brand identity for Sitka, and Axia Creative for the sign design and locations.”

A new wayfinding sign in front of Wells Fargo bank, at the corner of Lincoln and Maksoutoff streets, with an old wayfinding sign above.

The project cost just over $300,000 between the branding design and sign costs, Roy said. The branding project started in 2013, and the wayfinding project launched in 2015, with several delays. But the origins of the project can be found all the way back in 1996 in the Gateway tourism plan. The new wayfinding signs will replace the blue signs around town that were installed in 2015 and meant to only be temporary for a year or two.

“The Sitka Wayfinding System serves as a welcome and orientation for visitors, provides a unified image that reflects our community’s character and history, provides a sense of place, a ‘seamless’ experience and a guide to Sitka’s major attractions,” Roy said. “The signs offer visitors access to, Sitka’s official visitor website and encourages use of #visitsitka on social media. We are proud to see the signs being used by visitors throughout the community and this further development of our community’s visitor industry infrastructure.”

According to a map sent by City and Borough of Sitka project manager Kelli Cropper, there were 41 wayfinding signs and the one kiosk installed as part of this phase of the project. The majority of the wayfinding signs are on Lincoln Street, but there are a few off Sawmill Creek Road and one on Kaagwaantaan and Barracks streets, plus a few along the Sitka Sea Walk toward the Sitka National Historical Park.

A map showing the locations of the 41 wayfinding signs and new kiosk.

Cropper said there are options to purchase two more kiosks at later dates, with one going underneath the O’Connell Bridge by the lightering dock after the second phase of the Sitka Sea Walk is completed and the other possibly going up on Lincoln Street after that street is upgraded in the next year or two. At this time there are no wayfinding signs on Katlian Street, and any there would have to come during a future phase of the project.

A slideshow showing some of the new wayfinding signs and both sides of the kiosk is posted below.

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City of Sitka to host public meetings to discuss improvements on Lincoln Street

The City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department will host two public meetings — at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18, at the Sitka Public Library — to discuss the Lincoln Street Improvements project. Participants will be able to review the plans and hear about the fall and spring construction schedule.

The project includes the replacement of lining of deteriorated storm drainpipes, grinding and overlay of existing pavement, upgrading of ADA (American Disability Act) ramps, replacement of limited sidewalk and installation of red concrete crosswalks. The public is encouraged to attend to see the proposed improvements and provide public input.

For more information, contact Public Works at 747-1806.

• Lincoln Street Improvements meeting handout

Scenes from the 18th annual Parade of the Species through downtown Sitka

There were squid kids, a raven clan, and jellyfish galore during the 18th annual Parade of the Species, held Friday, April 20, through downtown Sitka as part of Earth Day and Earth Week activities hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society.

This year’s parade started from Totem Square and finished at the Sitka Sound Science Center, where there were a variety of activities for the kids such as making masks or drinking fresh smoothies.

A slideshow of photos from the parade is posted below.

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Sitka Trail Works releases weekend guided hike schedule for the 2018 spring and summer

Sitka Trail Works will kick off its 2018 summer series of weekend hikes on Saturday, May 5, with a moderate to strenuous bike ride of up to 10 miles along the Cross Trail. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Indian River Trailhead (near the corner of Indian River Road and Yaw Drive) to join the ride.

That will be followed on Sunday, May 13, 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. Note, the calendar posted below has been updated to change the date of the Fort Rousseau kayak trip.

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 2), Sitka Trail Works and other groups will do repair work to trails TBA. Tools will be available, but you should bring gloves, pruners and toppers, if you have them.

In other news, Sitka Trail Works recently received funding for Phase 6 of the Cross Trail, and construction is expected to start in FY 2019. But in order to claim the $1.8 million to finish the last 2.6 miles of the Cross Trail, Sitka Trail Works needs to raise $20,000 in matching funds. In addition, Sitka Trail Works plans a major maintenance project on the Indian River Trail during the 2018 summer, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and Juneau Trail Mix.

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 2018 Sitka Trail Works newsletter

• Sitka Trail Works 2018 hike schedule (updated June 4)

Earth Month activities include the Parade of the Species, a youth eco-detectives event, gardening classes, free bus rides, and more

Earth Day is on Sunday, April 22, and Earth Week this year is Monday through Sunday, April 16-22. 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 17th annual Earth Day Parade of the Species.


There is a community-wide spring clean-up event from April 14-22, 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 April 21-22). This event is hosted by the City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department.

The “Starting a Cottage Foods Business” class on the poster, hosted by the Sitka Kitch and Juneau office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service, scheduled for April 14 has been canceled due to low registration in Juneau (the class was to be videoconferenced to Sitka).

The RIDE public transit in Sitka will offer free bus rides again this year during Earth Week (April 16-20). 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.

There is an Arctic Mission talk at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. There also is an Earth Day Preschool Story Time at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 19, at the Sitka Public Library.

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a free gardening class during Earth Week. Jennifer Carter and Michelle Putz will teach “Sitka Gardening 101,” which takes place from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street). There also is a “Greenhouse Gardening” class taught by Andrea Fraga from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall. Contact Charles Bingham at 623-7760 or check the Sitka Local Foods Network website for more details of upcoming garden classes.

There is a Herring Potluck at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at Harrigan Centennial Hall, hosted by Sitka Tribe of Alaska.

There is a Tlingít potato workshop from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 20, 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 17th annual Parade of Species, hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society, is on Friday, April 20. 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 the Sitka Sound Science Center 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, Best Local Plant/Animal, and Best Group Costume. For more information, contact Claire Sanchez at or call 747-7509. Click this link for a slideshow of scenes from the 2017 Parade of the Species.

Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka Sound Science Center and Bags For Change will host the movie, “Plastic Ocean,” at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 20, in Room 106 at UAS Sitka Campus.

Sitka National Historical Park and Sitka Sound Science Center are hosting an Eco-Detectives event from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 21, at Sitka National Historical Park for kids ages 5 and older.

The Sitka Cirque‘s Earth Day Showcase, “The Jungle Book,” takes place from 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, at the Sitka Performing Arts Center.

Sitka Conservation Society and the U.S. Forest Service are hosting an Indian River Trash Pick-Up from 10-11:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 22.

Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School and Sitka Conservation Society will host a “We Love Our Fishermen” lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, at the school.

Sitka Conservation Society hosts a Tongass Trivia contest for adults age 21 and older from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, April 27, at Baranof Island Brewing Co.

Greater Sitka Arts Council to host annual Spring Art Walk on Friday, April 6

The Greater Sitka Arts Council will host its annual Spring Art Walk from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, April 6, at several businesses in downtown Sitka.

The free art walk will give people a chance to see new art work and visit with your neighbors. Don’t forget to pick up a passport and get it stamped at each participating business to possibly win a gift certificate for $100 to a local business.

Here are highlights from some of the participating businesses:

  • Baranof Elementary School, 305 Baranof St — Creative works by Baranof students including holiday ornaments available for purchase.
  • Southeast Alaska Career Center, 205 Baranof Street, between Pacific High School and Baranof School — Works by student artists from Blatchley Middle School, Sitka Native Education Program Culture Class and Sitka High School.
  • Sitka Rose Gallery, 419 Lincoln St. — Old and new wood engravings and original blocks by Eric Bealer from Pelican.
  • Keith Greba / Water Colors of Alaska, 407 Lincoln St. (Bayview Building) — Unique and original Alaskan artwork by Keith Greba.
  • Goldsmith Gallery, 407 Lincoln St # 100 (Bayview Building) — Get first dibs on new jewelry lines and works by local artists.
  • North Sisters Crepe and Juice Co., 327 Seward St #2 — Collaborative performance piece featuring creative movement by Kasey Davis, two-dimensional illustration by Sarah Lawrie, and video presentation by Stephen Lawrie. Featured showtimes occurring at 6 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:00 pm, and 8:00 pm. Open reception beforehand from 5 to 6 pm.
  • Cabin Fever Gallery and Gifts, 321 Lincoln St. — Works including jewelry, cards, prints and original watercolors by artists Grace Harang, Kay McCarty, Kelly Goeden, Sandy Greba and Tracie Harang.
  • Artists Cove Gallery, 241 Lincoln St. — New wire-wrapped jewelry by Linda Wilson, jewelry by Katia Olivova, engraving by Pete Esquiro and Jennifer Younger, metal clay by JoElla Swanson, wood carving by Mark Sixbey, paintings by Libby Stortz and beading by Laura Kaltenstein, Fran Hartman and Cat Lieser.
  • Abby’s Reflection Apparel & Quiltworks, 231 Lincoln St. — Quilt making kits, new digitally printed quilting panels including images of Alaskan bear, eagles and wolves, Sitka Cancer Survivors’ Society 2018 raffle quilt and Bonnie Richards of SCSS featuring raffle tickets and connected prizes [raffle proceeds to benefit SCSS mini grant program]. Kathi Goddard, of Out On a Whim, offers new spring retro merchandise in her vintage collectible section within the store.
  • Island Artists Gallery, 205 B Lincoln St. — Featured works by artist Cara Murray and music by Summerfall. Additional highlights include beaded jewelry by Cass Pook, painted drums and beaded raven tail jewelry by Helen Mercado, wooden bowls by Zach LaPerriere, and tiled pieces and paintings on wood by Amy Sweeney.
  • Old Harbor Books, 201 Lincoln St. — “Fiber Friends: A Fiber Arts Exhibit.” A collection of weavings and textiles by local artisans using materials including wool, silk, and upcycled flannel sheets.
  • Backdoor Cafe, 104 Barracks St. — Limited edition hand printed block prints by Juneau artist Christine Kleinhenz.
  • Sitka Conservation Society, 201 Lincoln Street, Room 4 (Above Old Harbor Books) — Collection of local art including a preview of the award winning film, The Salmon Forest. Copies of the film will be available for purchase as well as SCS t-shirts, hoodies and bags. Parade of the Species costume creation activity offered from 5 to 7 pm.
  • Sitka Pioneers Home, 120 Katlian St. — Creative works by Pioneers Home residents.
  • Robertson’s Art Gallery and Custom Framing, 128 Lincoln St. — Works by Tom Crestodina, Rie Mumoz, Barbara Lavallee and Zach LaPerriere.
  • Sitka Flowers & The Chocolate Moose, 104 Lincoln St. — Jewelry by Jennifer Younger, floral wall backdrop and flower bouquets by Angela Ketah, and delicious chocolate and wine offerings.
  • City and Borough of Sitka William Stortz Gallery, 100 Lincoln St. — ‘Editorial Illustrations’, collection of acrylic paintings by D. Bennion.
  • BEAK Restaurant, 2 Lincoln St, Suite A — Original songs and covers by singer/songwriter and Sitka Winter Fellow Julia Carnes [two sets at 5:30-6:00 and 6:45-7:15]. Ceramics for sale by contemporary artist Liz Zacher. Photography for sale by local artist Bethany Sonsini Goodrich.
  • Mean Queen, 205 Harbor Dr., Downstairs — Kayak Shed Studios shares their latest photography collection in the venue’s lower level.

More galleries and artists may be added later. This event is sponsored by the Greater Sitka Arts Council, Alaska Airlines, the City and Borough of Sitka, and SEARHC. For more information, contact

City of Sitka to host public meetings to discuss improvements on Lincoln Street

The City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department will host two public meetings — at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at Harrigan Centennial Hall — to discuss the Lincoln Street Improvements project.

The project includes the replacement of lining of deteriorated storm drainpipes, grinding and overlay of existing pavement, upgrading of ADA (American Disability Act) ramps, replacement of limited sidewalk and installation of red concrete crosswalks. The public is encouraged to attend to see the proposed improvements and provide public input.

For more information, contact Public Works at 747-1806.

• Lincoln Street Improvements meeting handout