Saturday, June 2, is the 20th anniversary of the American Hiking Society‘s National Trails Day, and the Sitka National Historical Park is hosting a celebration. Included in this event is the launch of the new Sitka Health Summit-backed Park Prescriptions program, where local health providers can start writing prescriptions for patients to go take a hike.
A wide range of events take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor’s Center and surrounding totem park trails, highlighted by the ribbon-cutting for the new River View Trail at noon. This is a day dedicated to park trails, health and the community of Sitka There will be a series of free health-related presentations and exercise classes open to the public.
During a program between 9-10 a.m. on Saturday, the park will unveil the new Park Prescriptions Program; a collaboration between the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Sitka Community Hospital, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and the National Park Service. Park Prescriptions is a national program (part of the National Park Service’s Healthy Parks Healthy People US program) launched at various parks around the country. It is designed to promote outdoor activity to patients/local residents through their health care providers. The Sitka program originated at the 2011 Sitka Health Summit.
During the KCAW-Raven Radio Morning Edition interview on Wednesday, May 30, Alaska Public Health Nurse Penny Lehmann and Kelly Smitherman of the Sitka National Historical Park were interviewed about the National Trails Day event and the new Park Prescriptions Program.
There will be a wide variety of events each hour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including presentations by local health care providers, a hike with a veterinarian (pets on leashes invited), classes on making smoothies and yoga, and more. There also will be special kids’ activities at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., including a coloring contest, nature hike and exercise with park rangers (parents must be on site). Participants in classes can enter to win prizes awarded every hour. There also will be booths from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Sitka Trail Works, the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program and others.