Sitka Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Action Plan to be discussed on Feb. 23

The Sitka Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Action Plan will be discussed during a community meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23, at the Westmark Hotel conference room.

Over the past two years the U.S. Forest Service has developed new strategic guidance for the recreation program entitled, “A Framework for Sustainable Recreation” (link opens as PDF file).  This framework provides a vision, principles and focus areas to guide the agency to a more community focused, collaborative approach across the landscape.

The Sitka Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Action Plan is a pilot project for the Framework for Sustainable Recreation and is intended to inform similar future projects in other Southeast Alaska communities.

The greater Sitka community and the U.S. Forest Service are collaborating on a comprehensive recreation and tourism planning effort. By looking comprehensively at the social, environmental and economic aspects of recreation and tourism in the Sitka area, the plan will provide a guide for addressing issues such as health, connection to the outdoors, land stewardship, quality of life, and economic health. The plan is intended to guide the development of an integrated system of recreation and tourism facilities, programs, and services that will enhance the quality of life for residents, enhance the quality of experience for visitors, and sustain the businesses and employment opportunities that keep Sitka a vibrant community.

The last community meetings about the Sitka Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Action Plan took place over two days in late October. Since then, a community task force has been meeting with Agnew-Beck Consulting to catalog the information gathered during those meetings and incorporate it into the community feedback received in previous meetings. This meeting should provide the outline and draft of the plan for a final round of comments.

The Sitka Outdoor Recreation Coalition (Get Out, Sitka!) didn’t get started until after work began on the Sitka Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Action Plan, but several members of our group have participated in planning meetings and we fully endorse the work being done on the plan.

For more information, contact Carol Goularte, district ranger for the Sitka Ranger Station, Tongass National Forest, at 747-4218, or call Heather Stewart of Agnew-Beck Consulting (Anchorage) at 222-5424. The names and contact numbers of the local task force members can be found on the “Be A Part Of It” link on the plan’s website.

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