Sitka Fine Arts Camp builds new walkways around Odess Theater, Allen Hall



WalkwaysConceptDrawingVisitors to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp may have noticed the new walkways and landscaping around Odess Theater and Allen Hall this summer.

The new walkways were built thanks to the support of Carol Odess and other donors, according to Sitka Fine Arts Camp Director Roger Schmidt, and they make the Odess Theater and Allen Hall buildings more accessible. The new landscaping was designed by Sitka architect Monique Anderson using the 1910 architect’s plan for the Sheldon Jackson College campus.

The project started this winter, and concrete was poured in April for the new walkways. During the 100 Volunteers Day at the end of April, volunteers helped with the landscaping, planting flowers, shrubs and even some strawberries along the walkways.

“Of course there is still a lot of work to do on campus,” Anderson said. “A future project will be realigning the quad walkways to the historical road alignment. The Sitka Sea Walk spur to Lincoln Street was positioned to line up with this future alignment. Sitka Fine Arts Camp will be seeking donors for this work.”

Click this link to see the design and reasoning for the project. A slideshow of scenes from the construction, with Carol Odess in one of the photos, (courtesy of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp) is posted below.

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Sitka National Historical Park trail-building crews start work on River View Trail improvements

A National Park Service trail crew is working on the River View Trail in Sitka National Historical Park. (Rachel Waldholz, KCAW-Raven Radio)

A National Park Service trail crew is working on the River View Trail in Sitka National Historical Park. (Rachel Waldholz, KCAW-Raven Radio)

This week, the Sitka National Historical Park welcomed a trail-building work crew from Skagway that started making improvements to the park’s River View Trail. Details about the project were made public in this story that aired Thursday, Oct. 24, on KCAW-Raven Radio, and in the press release posted below.

Improvements Abound in Sitka National Historical Park

SITKA NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK  (Oct. 23, 2013) — Great things are on the horizon at Sitka National Historical Park.  Here is a preview of the many improvements slated for this winter.

Work begins this week on the long-awaited completion the River View Trail.  The first phase of the trail project, which was completed in 2011, evolved as a response to the Sitka Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Action Plan.  This plan identified the community’s desire to see improved access through the park and the development of underutilized areas.  The second phase of this project will shift focus to the repair and rehabilitation of the old section of trail that was previously owned by Sheldon Jackson College and which terminates at the bike path on Sawmill Creek Road.  This project is funded in part by entrance and campground fees collected throughout the National Park Service units.

Over the course of the next four weeks, Sitka National Historical Park staff in conjunction with the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (Skagway) trail crew will work together to improve the trail’s existing grade, remove wooden stairs and eliminate potential tripping hazards. The trail will be compacted and made sustainable for the future.  For those who are interested in being a part of this trail improvement project, the park will host a volunteer trail work day in November.  Stay tuned for more information about how you can make a lasting difference in your park!

Be prepared to also learn a little as you navigate your way through the park.  All of the park’s directional signage and outdoor interpretive signage (waysides) will be replaced over the course of the next year. The new directional signage, which will be mounted on stained cedar posts, will assist new and out-of-town visitors in finding their way around the park.  Seventeen new waysides will replace the outdated interpretive signage along the Totem Trail and in front of the Russian Bishop’s House.  The signs, which are fully accessible, will cover the Battle of 1804, the totem poles, Russian-American history and the ecology of the temperate rain forest.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at or visit our Facebook page:!/SitkaNationalHistoricalPark.