National Trails Day, National Get Outdoors Day and other events highlight a busy June spent outdoors in Sitka

June is a busy month in Sitka, especially if you enjoy getting outdoors. Here are a few June events in Sitka so parents can plan ways to get their kids outdoors during one of our sunnier months of the year.

Saturday, June 4, is National Trails Day, an event sponsored by the American Hiking Society. On National Trails Day, local trail groups around the country celebrate their trails with hiking trips or trail maintenance/building parties.

Sitka Trail Works, the local trail-building organization, lists on its website calendar a Kimsham Trailhead alder removal work party from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on June 4 as its official National Trails Day event (wear gloves, contact Deborah Lyons at 747-7244 or for more information).  The National Trails Day event calendar lists a different June 4 event for Sitka Trail Works — Harbor Mountain Bike Trail Building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. People should take New Harbor Mountain Road (off Halibut Point Road) up to the second switchback/gravel borrow area where the new mountain bike trail starts. See the online calendar for more details, and check with Sitka Trail Works to make both events will take place. Sitka Trail Works also leads guided hikes throughout the summer, so check the schedule.

Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5, is the second and last weekend of the Sitka Salmon Derby, which is sponsored by the Sitka Sportsman’s Association and serves as a local fundraiser to provide scholarships for Sitka students. Booklets with information about the derby are available wherever fishing licenses are sold in Sitka.

Saturday, June 11, is National Get Outdoors Day, an event sponsored by the American Recreation Coalition and the U.S. Forest Service to encourage more people to get outdoors. The main purpose of this day is to raise awareness of the benefits of active time outdoors — benefits to our own bodies and those of our loved one, families and friends — and overcome the trends that keep too many Americans indoors and sedentary.

Saturday, June 11, also is the annual Kids Fishing Day at Swan Lake, a trout-fishing derby for kids ages 2-12. Registration for this event opens at 8 a.m. and fishing starts at 9 a.m. The derby ends at noon, and prizes will be awarded between 12:30-1 p.m. This event is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sitka, the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Saturday, June 18, is the Only Fools Run At Midnight, a late-night costumed fun run/walk hosted by Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) at the same time in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan. In Sitka, meet at the Sitka Fire Hall at 10:30 p.m. to register and for costume judging. The 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) fun run starts at 11:59 p.m. (there also is a 1-mile walk course). You can register at the event, or online. This is a fundraiser for SAIL, so there is an entry fee of $20 for adults, $10 for youth and $50 for a family of four. Participants receive glow-in-the-dark t-shirts.

For those people who like to garden, the Sitka Local Foods Network will host weekly work parties from 2-4 p.m. every Saturday in June at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, a communal garden located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street. Gloves and guidance are provided, and the work parties are kid-friendly. Contact lead gardener Laura Schmidt at 738-7009 for more information.

A new group called Sitka Outdoor Kids will start hosting regular playground events for kids on Tuesdays and hikes on Fridays. The first playground event is from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, June 7, at Baranof Elementary School. The first hike is from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, June 10, at the Mosquito Cove  Trail. These events are open to kids of all ages. For more information, go to the Facebook group linked above or contact Alice Marcus at 738-5089 or

Don’t forget this is the International Year of Forests, and there are many additional events scheduled all summer throughout the Tongass and Chugach National Forests in Alaska. Check the link for updates.

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