Girls on the Run to close out season with beach-themed 5K community fun run on May 13

The Sitka Girls On The Run program will host celebrate the end of its ninth season with a beach/Hawaiian themed five-kilometer run from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 13, with the start-finish line at the Crescent Harbor covered shelter. The fun run and ceremony will honor the girls, who have been training all spring at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

This is a family friendly event, and tutus and bright colors are encouraged, but not required. Volunteers and cheerleaders also are needed so they can make the event extra special for our participants. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Volunteer — There are quite a few volunteer positions available, some of which also allow volunteers to run in the event (all allow volunteers to be cheerleaders). Volunteer time requirements vary by assignment. Please register at Please contact Lauren Havens at or 747-3489 with any questions.
  • Cheerleader — Position yourself along the course between 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. to cheer the girls on as they run. The run starts at the Crescent Harbor covered shelter, runs along the Sitka Sea Walk and through the Sitka National Historical Park’s Totem Trails and back, so there are plenty of places to cheer people on. Bring a sign and bright colors and a positive attitude.

Girls On The Run is a life-changing empowerment program for girls in third through fifth grade. We teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory five-kilometer (3.1-mile) running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.

The 12-week program is one of several in the region. GOTR of Greater Alaska operates Girls On The Run programs in Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Yakutat, along with similar programs in other Alaska communities. Check out what the program is all about. Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) hosts the GOTR program in Sitka.

Please help spread the word and encourage family members and friends to make the 2017 5K Community Fun Run a success.

Walk Sitka to meet on Jan. 17 to begin work on Walk Friendly Communities renewal application


WFC_LogoWant to help make Sitka a better place for walkers? Walk Sitka will meet from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the Sitka Public Library (Gus Adams meeting room) to begin work on our Walk Friendly Communities program renewal application.

In October 2013, Sitka became the first (and currently only) city in Alaska to earn a Bronze level or higher Walk Friendly Communities designation. We earned a Bronze level in 2013, so let’s see if we can improve to the Silver or Gold level in 2017.

Over the past few years, Sitka has seen the completion of the Sitka Sea Walk, an expansion to the Cross Trail, a new multi-use pathway at the end of Sawmill Creek Road, and several other infrastructure improvements. Over the last few months, Sitka has received funding awards to build the second phase of the Sitka Sea Walk and the sixth phase of the Cross Trail, and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is getting ready to redo a section of Sawmill Creek Road from the roundabout to Jeff Davis Street to make it friendlier for walkers and bikers (good bye power poles in the middle of the sidewalk). We also have had more education about being visible while walking and a cellphone ban while driving to promote safety, and launched the Park Prescriptions program at Sitka National Historical Park and other hiking/walking clubs to encourage people to walk.

During this meeting, we will start to list our improvements since our last application, and we will look for areas where we can improve our community to make it easier for people to walk.

To learn more about the application process, contact Charles Bingham at 623-7660 or

Sitka National Historical Park consulting with Sitka Tribe of Alaska on Sitka Sea Walk expansion


Sitka National Historical Park is in consultation with the Sitka Tribe of Alaska as part of its government-to-government responsibility to consult as a federal agency.

Members of the park’s planning team have attended meetings with the Customary, Cultural and Traditional Committee and the Sitka Tribal Enterprises Committee to discuss options for the completion of the Sitka Sea Walk. Also, the park’s team will look ahead to projects requiring consultation in the coming year.

Public meetings have been held to gather input regarding the Sitka Sea Walk extension. In the future public and government-to-government meetings will be held to seek input on upcoming projects affecting public use of the park.

Sitka National Historical Park is responsible for managing park resources and providing opportunities for government-to-government and public input on projects that affect public use and park resources.

For more information, please call Ryan Carpenter at 747-0121.

SEARHC to host breast cancer awareness month fundraiser walk for Sitka Cancer Survivors Society


The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) will host a breast cancer awareness month fundraiser walk this weekend for the Sitka Cancer Survivors Society.

Walkers should meet at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the O’Connell Bridge lightering dock, and the walk will start at 9:30 a.m. Walkers will follow Harbor Drive and the Sitka Sea Walk to the tennis courts and back to the lightering dock, a distance of about one mile.

The walk costs $10 per person, and t-shirts are available for the first 60 people to register. All proceeds benefit the Sitka Cancer Survivors Society, which will use funds to help local cancer survivors deal with expenses..

Comment period open for first-phase completion of Sitka Sea Walk into Sitka National Historical Park


Sitka National Historical Park will keep the public comment period on the Sitka Sea Walk Phase 1 completion project open until Sept. 30. Public comments will then be compiled and analyzed. Park managers will decide on an alternative in part on advice and opinion received through public comment.

SitkaSeaWalkEndBySNHPJPGThe Sitka Sea Walk, which opened on Oct. 18, 2013, runs parallel to Lincoln Street, from the Crescent Harbor Parking lot to Sitka National Historical Park. The unfinished portion, from near Merrill Rock on Lincoln Street and Kelly Street to the Visitor Center, has three possible options for completion. Sitka National Historical Park held two public meetings to discuss the project on Aug. 23 and Aug. 30.  The alternatives can be viewed during regular Visitor Center hours at 106 Metlakatla Street in Sitka. The alternatives also are discussed in the Aug. 30 meeting link above.

In other recent news, the Alaska Transportation Alternatives Program (ATAP) announced on July 28 it was awarding $1.36 million to Sitka to build the second phase of the Sitka Sea Walk, which will run from Harrigan Centennial Hall to the lightering dock by the O’Connell Bridge.

Comments can be taken in-person at the visitor center, delivered by e-mail to, or received by mail sent to 103 Monastery Street, Sitka AK, 99835. Comments by mail should be post marked no later than Sept. 30. For more information please call the visitor center at 907-747-0110.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 413 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more about the Sitka National Historical Park at http:// or visit our Facebook page at

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Sitka National Historical Park to host second meeting about completing first phase of Sitka Sea Walk


Sitka National Historical Park will host the second of two meetings for public participation regarding the completion of the first phase of the Sitka Sea Walk, the end where the pathway enters the national park.

The meeting is at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the Sitka National Historical Park visitor center, where Chief of Resources Brinnen Carter, will discuss the pros and cons of three options for the project. The first meeting, which was part of an open house, was on Aug. 23.

SitkaSeaWalkEndBySNHPJPGThe first phase of the Sitka Sea Walk, which opened in October 2013, extends from the Crescent Harbor parking lot to Sitka National Historical Park, running above the harbor parallel to Lincoln Street. The unfinished portion, from near Merrill Rock on Lincoln Street (and the intersection with Kelly Street) to the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center, has three possible options for completion. The public meetings will present the options, answer questions, and gather public opinion.

The first option (with a projected cost of $329,732) completely rebuilds the sidewalk, widening it to match the width of the Sitka Sea Walk as it goes into the park. The second option ($490,142), and the most popular option among those at the Aug. 23 meeting, is a boardwalk that will take the Sitka Sea Walk down by Merrill Rock and closer to the beach, away from the street, as walkers enter the park. The third option ($180,428) only replaces the concrete at the beginning and end of the walk, but leaves a narrow sidewalk next to a retaining wall for much of the section.

This section of the Sitka Sea Walk is on federal land controlled by the National Park Service, which is why the Sitka National Historical Park is holding these meetings instead of the city. Carter said the Alaska Federal Lands Access Program will cover the costs, regardless of the preferred choice. While the boardwalk (third option) will have a shorter life span than the other two concrete options (50 years vs. 75 years), it does offer several safety advantages since walkers won’t be crowding the streets near a blind corner as they do now when cruise ships are in town. Carter said the intent is to match the current design of the Sitka Sea Walk as much as possible.

For more information, please call the visitor center at 907-747-0110. Carter said Sitka residents who can’t make Tuesday’s meeting can stop by the visitor center and submit their comments by Tuesday, Sept. 6. The design will be completed this fall, with construction expected to be finished by October 2017.

Schematics showing the three options are posted as a slideshow below.

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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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