Sitka National Historical Park to host quarterly Park Prescriptions prize drawing on Sept. 30

The next quarterly Park Prescriptions Program drawing will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Sitka National Historical Park visitor center.

Participants are reminded to submit their punch cards to a ranger at Sitka National Historical Park’s visitor center by 3 p.m. on Frida,y Sept. 29, to be eligible for the drawing. This drawing includes three cash prizes provided by Sitka Community Hospital Foundation. The prizes will be awarded as checks, and will either be mailed to the winners, or will be available for pick up at the Sitka Community Hospital.

The Park Prescriptions Program promotes health and wellness by encouraging Sitkans to recreate within their national park. Park Prescriptions was a Sitka Health Summit project that started as a partnership between the park and local medical providers, who prescribed hikes around the park to their patients. Now people can self-prescribe the hikes, and turn in their completed punch cards to win prizes. Quarterly drawings are held by the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation. Eligible participants who have completed their punch card are eligible to win cash prizes.

To participate, stop by the park’s visitor center, or the Sitka Community Hospital to pick up a punch card or contact Ryan Carpenter at 747-0121 or at ryan_p_carpenter@nps.gov for more information.

If you have questions, please call the park’s visitor center at 747-0110.​

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Hames Center announces new season of Senior Walking Hours program starting Sept. 5

Seniors, now you can walk your way to better health and connect with friends with the next season of senior walking hours.

Join us from 10-11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at the Hames Center for a walking program designed for seniors to make new friends and meet their fitness goals. This program originally launched in April 2016 and is relaunching for the fall now that the weather is becoming dicier.

Led by trained Hames Center instructors, this program is donation-based and open to all seniors, caregivers, and those with specialized walking needs. The Hames Center gym is handicap-accessible, so people who need to use wheelchairs, canes, and other assistive devices are welcome. Pedometers are available to track your progress while you gain strength and balance.

For more information, call 747-5080 or visit http://www.hamescenter.org/

Boys Run: I Toowú Klatseen program recruiting coaches to mentor young runners

Are you interested in mentoring boys in the third through fifth grade so they grow up to become their best selves? Consider coaching for Boys Run: I toowú klatseen, a program coordinated by Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV).

Boys Run: I toowú klatseen (which means “strength of spirit”) is a mentorship program for young boys, with programs in Juneau, Sitka and Kake. The program teaches boys healthy social and emotional skills through running and envisions boys growing up into healthy members of society. It is modeled after the Girls On The Run program, which meets in the spring.

Southeast Alaska Native cultural values have been intentionally incorporated into the program in each lesson, and we use running as a vehicle for games and fun activities. The program ends with a community five-kilometer fun run, teaching boys they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.
What coaching entails:

  • Practices are held twice a week from 2:40-4 p.m., on either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. It starts the end of September and goes until mid December.
  • There is a coach training Sept. 16 in Juneau, we will provide transportation and lodging.
  • You do not have to be a runner to coach.
  • There is a set curriculum and lesson plans and all the supplies you need will be provided for you.

If  you are interested, please contact Rebecca Foster of SAFV at BoysRunInfo@gmail.com or call 747-3496.

New Indian River pedestrian bridge in Sitka National Historical Park opens for use

OPENED BRIDGESitka National Historical Park Superintendent David Elkowitz and contractor Jeremy Twaddle of Island Enterprises Inc. cut a ceremonial ribbon to officially open the Indian River foot bridge Friday morning, July 28, 2017. The new bridge, which is two feet wider than the old one, was completed on schedule, just ahead of pink salmon spawning. Pictured on the bridge are, from left, Ryan Carpenter, Elkowitz, Brinnen Carter, Twaddle and Mike Trainor. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Sitka Maritime Heritage Society to host summer camp, harbor walk, and a treasure hunt

The Sitka Maritime Heritage Society is hosting a summer camp, waterfront/harbor walk and a treasure hunt during August.

The Sails, Knots and What-Nots summer camp takes place on Monday, July 31, though Friday, Aug. 4, and is geared toward youth ages 10-15. During the camp, participants will learn about harnessing the wind, sailing knots, designing sailing models, and more. The camp is co-sponsored by the Coast Guard Spouses and Women’s Association. The cost is $200 for SMHS members and Coast Guard, and $220 for non-members. Applications are available at sitkamaritime@gmail.com.

Walk That Dock is a free waterfront and harbor walk set for noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12. Participants will meet at 11:50 a.m. at the SMHS booth at the Sitka Seafood Festival, and then will walk Crescent Harbor, ANB Harbor and the Sitka waterfront to learn about Sitka’s maritime history. If you can’t make this event, check out the SMHS historic harbor and waterfront map posted here (note, map prints out as a double-sided 11×17 document).

All Treasures Wet and Salty is a free family fun day that includes a treasure hunt from noon until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Japonski Island Boathouse. This event also is part of the Sitka Seafood Festival. Young pirates can grab a treasure map to explore the historic boathouse, while more seasoned pirates can explore the SMHS collections.

Sitka National Historical Park to open new Indian River pedestrian bridge on Friday, July 28

The new cross-park pedestrian bridge over Indian River in Sitka National Historical Park will officially open for park visitors at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 28.

An informal ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by park superintendent David Elkowitz will dedicate the new bridge. “We heartily invite all of our park users, including the Park Prescriptions participants and daily walkers, to join us in crossing the river for the first time using this latest park infrastructure improvement,” Elkowitz said.

The removal and replacement of an almost half-century-old bridge was necessary to ensure park visitors have safe passage through the park. The new bridge is wider to allow for enhanced salmon and other wildlife viewing for decades to come. As before, bicyclists are reminded to walk their bikes through park trails, including over the bridge.

Speaking about the project, which began in early May, Sitka National Historical Park Chief of Maintenance Mike Trainor said, “Our goal was to have this project completed by mid-July to protect the late summer salmon run, which is one of the park’s most important natural resource missions. I’m happy to report the first pink salmon are just beginning to show up at the mouth of the river. We also wanted to ensure a minimum inconvenience to park visitors and especially those who use the cross-park trail to get to and from downtown Sitka. We thank everyone for their patience.”

The cross-trail linking the Park’s east and west sections across the footbridge has been a traditional pedestrian commuter route, and park visitor walk, for decades.

The new bridge was designed after considerable public input, and retains the character of the old bridge. For more information about this work, please contact Angie Richman at 747-0132 or Mike Trainor at 747-0150.

Sitka’s renewal application for a 2017 Walk Friendly Communities designation has been submitted

Walk Sitka has submitted its renewal application for a 2017 Walk Friendly Communities award designation. The application period closed on Thursday, June 15, and results will be announced in a few months. In 2013, Sitka earned a Bronze Level WFC designation, and we’re hoping to move up to Silver or Gold this year.

Applying for a Walk Friendly Communities designation was one of three community wellness projects chosen at the 2012 Sitka Health Summit. By going through this national award application process we hoped to gain a better handle on the status of walking in Sitka and what we can do to improve it. We feel there have been many improvements to walking in Sitka just in the past year, with the launch of many walking programs (Park Prescriptions, Sitka Trail Works weekend hikes, Senior Hiking Club, etc.), the construction on the Sitka Sea Walk and upcoming expansions, continued construction on the Cross Trail and other Sitka Trail Works projects, and more.

The 72-page community assessment tool, which helps communities fill out the application, has nine sections — Community Profile, Status of Walking, Planning, Education and Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, Evaluation and Additional Questions. Once submitted, the actual application printed out at 40 pages.

A copy of our 2013 and 2017 applications are posted below, along with our 2013 report card from the WFC program. Feel free to review it and let us know ways we can make Sitka more walk friendly. So far, Sitka is the only community in Alaska to earn a Bronze Level or higher Walk Friendly Communities designation (Juneau received an honorable mention in 2010). Don’t forget to like our Facebook page and watch this site for updates.

• 2017 Walk Friendly Communities application for Sitka, Alaska

• 2013 Walk Friendly Communities application for Sitka, Alaska

• Sitka, Alaska, 2013 Walk Friendly Communities Report Card and Feedback