Sitka Trail Works provides landslide trail status update and announces this Saturday’s group hike


On Saturday, Aug. 29, Sitka Trail Works will lead a hike on the newly repaired Herring Cove trail. The hike will include the loop around Beaver Lake before returning to the trailhead. Meet at 9 a.m. at the trailhead at the end of Sawmill Creek Road.

The Herring Cove trail has numerous stone steps and some short, steep sections, but is suitable for a person of average physical ability. There are three waterfalls and a lake adjacent proposed hiking route. The 2014 storm damage that occurred to this trail was repaired earlier this year in a joint effort by Sitka Trail Works and the U.S Forest Service Sitka Ranger District, with grant funding from the State of Alaska Recreational Trails Program. Sitka Trail Works board member Deanna Bennett will lead this hike.

As a result of the Aug. 18 landslides, several trails are closed or impassable, and the public is to avoid those areas and select alternate trail areas.

The Cross Trail from Cascade Creek to Kramer is closed to preserve site control of the landslide remediation efforts. The remainder of the Cross Trail, from Cascade Creek through to Indian River, is somewhat damaged, but passable. The trail to Heart Lake from Blue Lake Road is impassable and closed. Blue Lake Road remains closed to pedestrian traffic.

The Gavan Hill Trail to Harbor Mountain above the Cross Trail to the Lookout is impassable. The Gavan Trail below the Cross Trail to Baranof trailhead is closed as crews work to remove the old boardwalk. The Gavan route from Baranof trailhead to the Cross Trail is being replaced with a new section of the Cross Trail and will be reopened later this summer. The trail to Beaver Lake from the Sawmill Creek campground at the end of Blue Lake road was also damaged by slides and should be avoided.

Trails undamaged by the landslides include all three in the Starrigavan area, Indian River, Verstovia and Herring Cove.

For more information, visit the Sitka Trail Works website or call the office at 747-7244.

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Sitka National Historical Park’s annual photo contest seeks submissions for centennial

Photo contest flyer final 2

SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignIn the coming year, the National Park Service will celebrate its 100th birthday. The National Park Service is encouraging everyone to Find Your Park and to learn, remember or share why your park is special to you.

This year’s National Public Lands Day Photo Contest focuses on Finding Your Park. Photograph what makes Sitka National Historical Park special to you and submit your entry to win one of our limited edition, local artist-designed Sitka National Historical Park t-shirts.

Beginning Friday, Aug. 21, Sitka National Historical Park will accept entries for the 2015 National Public Lands Day (Sept. 26) photo contest. Space permitting, all entries will be displayed in the resulting photo exhibit, Find Your Park: What Makes Sitka National Historical Park Special to You?

To enter, email or submit up to three photos relating to the following categories:

  • Russian or Native Culture — Any aspect of Russian or Southeast Alaska Native culture found within Sitka National Historical Park.
  • Nature — Alaskan scenery, flora or fauna found in its natural habitat within Sitka National Historical Park.
  • Beach — Capture an element within the beach area of Sitka National Historical Park.
  • Small Perspectives — A category for children 13 years of age and younger.  Take a picture within the park that explains why Sitka National Historical Park is special to you.

All entries must be submitted with an entry form no later than 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Visitor Center front desk, or emailed to Contestants may enter up to three submissions total. Photo sizes must be four inches by six inches. Electronically submitted photographs are held to the same size limitations at a resolution no lower than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Accepted file formats include jpeg, tiff, and png.

Contestants who e-mail their submissions must include in the body of their email the following information: contestant name, location (city, state), preferred contact info (email or phone), category, and title of work (or leave untitled). Entrants must also attest that they own the image, and they agree to release the photo to the public domain. Photographs may be picked up at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center from noon to 3 p.m. on Tuesday-Saturday, from Oct. 19-31. Submissions will not be mailed back to contestants. The official entry form can be downloaded from the park’s main web page:

Photographers can enter to win as long as no more than 25 percent of the contestant’s income derives from the sale of their photographs.

Local judges will evaluate submissions and determine category winners, taking into consideration originality, artistic composition, technical quality, and whether the photos showcase Sitka National Historical Park resources. The People’s Choice Award will be awarded to the photo with the most likes on the Sitka National Historical Park Facebook page.

Each of the four category winners will receive a First Place ribbon and a limited edition, local artist-designed Sitka National Historical Park t-shirt. The winner of the People’s Choice award for the most popular photo on the park’s Facebook account will also receive a t-shirt. Every entrant in the children’s category will receive a participation ribbon.

Entries will be framed by park staff and will remain on display throughout the duration of the Find Your Park: What Makes Sitka National Historical Park Special to You? exhibit in the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center from Sept. 18 through Oct. 18.

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Sitka National Historical Park celebrates Founder’s Day with cake and family activities

Founders Day Poster 2015


SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignOn Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28-29, the community is invited to Sitka National Historical Park to celebrate Founder’s Day.

Founder’s Day is the annual celebration of the creation of the National Park Service. This year’s 99th birthday celebration will include children’s games, cake, documentary film screenings, a historic photo exhibit and the chance to name the park’s new bison mascot.

Schedule of Events

  • Historic Park Photo Exhibit, All DayFriday, Aug. 28 — Take a walk through time by viewing seldom-seen photos from the park’s past. These historic park photos document the Sitka National Historical Park’s rich history as a unit of the National Park Service. The photo exhibit will be located inside the Visitor Center.
  • America’s Best Idea Documentary, 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28, and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29 — America’s Best Idea is a documentary film by Ken Burns that focuses on the history of the country’s national parks and the people who have advocated for their designation and protection. Join us for Episode 6, which highlights the establishment of Alaska’s national parks.
  • Founders Day Family Celebration, 1-2 p.m. Family Games, Saturday, Aug. 29 —  Join rangers for fun family games at the park’s Visitor Center. Games include “Pin-the-tail on the sea otter,” Animal Tag, “Raven, Raven, Eagle,” and a treasure hunt.
  • Founders Day Family Celebration, 2-3 p.m. Cake, Saturday, Aug. 29 — Cake, photos with the park’s bison mascot, and park mascot naming activity. Join the park’s new bison mascot for some cake to celebrate the National Park Service’s 99th birthday. Have your photo take with the bison and submit names for the naming contest.
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Sitkans Against Family Violence seeks coaches for Boys Run: I Toowú Klatseen program


Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) is seeking coaches for its Boys Run: I toowú klatseen (strength of spirit) program.

This after-school empowerment program for boys teaches them healthy relationship and respect skills while training towards a 5-kilometer fun run later this fall. It is modeled after the Girls On The Run program, which meets in the spring.

The deadline for potential coaches to complete their applications is Saturday, Aug. 15, and coach training takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29 (lunch is provided). The Boys Run program will meet from 2:30-4:15 p.m. on Mondays/Wednesdays and Tuesdays/Thursdays through December.

For more information, contact Eleyna Rosenthal at SAFV at, or send an email to The coaches application and job description is posted below.

• 2015 Boys Run Coaches Job Description

• 2015 Boys Run Coach Application Final

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Free children’s programs offered at Sitka National Historical Park

TRT Flyer for Sat & Wed sessions

Sitka National Historical Park will offer two free upcoming environmental education programs for kids.

Elementary-aged students are invited to join a ranger from 10-10:45 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, to learn about the temperate rain forest and its organisms. Rangers will be taking participants on a hike through the park, so children should be prepared for rain/shine, dress in layers and wear appropriate footwear.

From 10-10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29, the park will host a second youth program focusing on the park’s biodiversity and highlighting how the food chain plays a vital role in the park’s various ecosystems. This program will be held outside, so children should be prepared for variable weather conditions.

For more information about these education programs, please contact Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Shelby Lawson at 747-0134.

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New trail traffic counters installed at Sitka National Historical Park


SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignHave you noticed little brown boxes on some of Sitka National Historical Park’s trailside signs?

The park recently installed four traffic counters along the park’s scenic trails. The trail counters are not cameras, they simply provide park managers with an accurate count of the number of people who recreate on the park’s trails. This information is used for annual reporting requirements, budgeting purposes, and maintenance requests.

The original counters were installed in 2014 without protection cases, but were damaged by vandals and the weather.  The counters and their batteries are now encased in brown boxes to protect them from the elements, specifically rain.

Also, a reminder to all cyclists that people are to walk their bicycles through the park trails, not ride them. This is for safety reasons, as there are many elders and children hiking on the trails who may not hear the bikes coming up behind them. In addition, the restriction on biking helps prevent erosion and other damage to the trails. And a reminder that metal detectors are prohibited in all national parks, including Sitka National Historical Park.

Since 2011, there have been no fees collected at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center, which includes the cultural center where Native carving is demonstrated. The only fees are at the Russian Bishop’s House, which uses this fee schedule.


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Metal detectors prohibited in all national parks, including Sitka National Historical Park


Recently, two park visitors reported to rangers that they observed another park visitor using a metal detector within the bounds of Sitka National Historical Park.

This activity is prohibited in all national parks by several laws and is most directly stated in the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 2.1(7)), which prohibits “Possessing or using a mineral or metal detector, magnetometer, side scan sonar, or other metal detecting device…” within the bounds of national parks.

Sitka National Historical Park Superintendent Mary Miller praised the visitors that reported the person using the metal detector, “Clearly these visitors saw something that should not be happening in a national park and promptly reported it to the first ranger they saw. Conversely, the person using the metal detector does not understand the National Park Service mandate to protect nationally-significant sites like the 1804 Battlefield and Russian Bishop’s House.”

Digging up or removing metal artifacts from a national park permanently damages the archeological resources of the park. In the case of the 1804 Battlefield, information about the battle and the Tlingít fortifications could be permanently damaged or destroyed by illegal digging. Due to the seriousness of this risk, metal detecting can be a felony violation of the Archeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA). “The best idea is to just leave your metal detector at home when you come to the park,” said Chief Ranger Neil Akana.

If you visit Sitka National Historical Park on a regular basis and see a visitor with a metal detector, note his/her location and appearance and report him/her immediately to the nearest ranger. During business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily), you may also call the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center at 747-0110 for immediate assistance. After hours, please call the National Park Service ARPA Hotline at 800-478-2724 or the park’s Chief Ranger Neil Akana at 738-3851.

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