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Archive for September, 2020

Sitka Cycling Club volunteer coordinator Amy Volz pushes a wheelbarrow with buckets along the new single-track trail during an Aug. 20 weekly work party. The Sitka Cycling Club currently is building its fourth trail of the summer, and continues to hold weekly work parties from 5-7 p.m. on Thursdays. (Photos by Lione Clare)

Click map to enlarge. This map shows the three completed single-track mountain bike loops. It is in the bright green area to the right in the other map.

It’s been a busy summer for the Sitka Cycling Club, which has built three single-track mountain bike loops off the Sitka Cross Trail (907, Little Machete, and Ewok). The work continues during the Thursday weekly work party from 5-7 p.m. today, as volunteers are building the fourth trail, Middle Machete Loop,

“Outer Coast (College) volunteers have made great progress this week and we’ll continue their efforts,” Sitka Cycling Club volunteer coordinator Amy Volz wrote in an email to volunteers.

“We will be doing the usual, hauling rocks and gravel — we can’t get enough of it. Please be sure to bring and wear your mask, XtraTufs, and work gloves. Wearing masks keeps all of us healthy to ride.”

Meet up on Thursday at 5 pm at the gravel pile on the Cross Trail, near the exit of 907 and the difficult entrance to Little Machete. Other duties besides hauling rocks and gravel include placing big rocks in muddy spots, fabric cutting and laying, gravel hauling and placement, etc. In addition to working on Middle Machete, the volunteers scoped out their fifth trail, Upper Machete, during their Sept. 3 work party.

Due to the pandemic, we are limiting the sizes of the work parties. Please contact Amy by text at 907-957-6009 or email at amy.volz@outlook.com if you plan to help, so she can manage the size of the group. We want to make sure there is enough space between workers so we don’t spread the coronavirus.

The Sitka Cross Trail from the entrance near the Sitka High School Performing Arts Center parking lot. The four new loops (907, Little Machete, Ewok, and Middle Machete) are located in the lime green section to the right. (Map by Rollo Wirth)

The club completed the 907 Loop in June, then completed Little Machete and Ewok loops earlier in August, with the city giving approval for all three trails. The Middle Machete Loop is short, but it will require the work of an excavator for part of the trailwork.

In an effort to promote health and safety during the trail construction, please bring (and wear) your mask, work gloves and a bucket with a handle if you have one. The Sitka Cycling Club does have a wheelbarrow, shovels and buckets. All volunteers will need to sign a liability waiver.

To give people a flavor about what a single-track mountain bike trail is all about, Michael Foss put together a YouTube channel for the Sitka Cycling Club that includes some GoPro videos of rides and walks on the new 907 trail. Michael’s newest video includes a ride on Little Machete Loop.

According to our engineering report for the 907 Loop, these trails have the following features:

  • The trail is located at the base of an alluvial fan where drainage moves across the fan frequently and subsurface material is largely cobble and gravel with organic debris on top
  • Drainage is largely subsurface with two defined intermittent streams which activate during rainfall
  • Drainage across the trail has been accommodated using French drains, inverted dips, and cobble/gravel (intermittent stream) crossings
  • Streambanks along the intermittent stream crossings have been strengthened using boulders to reduce erosion and sedimentation
  • If/when stream naturally diverts across the alluvial fan we are prepared to accommodate drainage (through trail maintenance), as needed

We also want to thank the six-week Sitka Summer Work Program crew led by Joel Hanson of Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), which just completed its program last week. This crew did much of the work on the Ewok Loop. We now have a crew of students from Outer Coast College working on the Middle Machete Loop.

Sitka Cycling Club president Doug Osborne works on the Middle Machete Loop on Aug. 20. (Photo by Lione Clare)

The Sitka Cycling Club also wants to thank some Sitka residents who recently donated to help us build these trails. Donors include Charles Olson and Theresa Allen-Olson, Bill Hughes of Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, and Reba Trani. In addition, the club also received some money from Sitka Trail Works (originally from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services) that was left over from hosting the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference in June.

You can support this and other projects by donating to the Sitka Cycling Club. You can click this link to donate through PayPal. The other option is to mail a check to Sitka Cycling Club, c/o Charles Bingham, Treasurer, 405 Marine Street, Apt. No. 6, Sitka, Alaska 99835. You can contact Charles at 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com for more details.

Most of the supplies we’ve received have been donated, but eventually we will have to pay for signs, tools, fill dirt or rocks, etc. In recent weeks we had to pay someone to bring some excavating equipment into the area to do some work, and that’s depleting our bank account. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Volunteers Lee House, left, Aaron Prussian, and K.K. Prussian discuss next steps during an Aug. 20 work party.

These trails are being built as part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City and Borough of Sitka, signed in February. The plan is to start with a couple of trails all in the same area, then build more trails later in other parts of Sitka. Sitka Trail Works is helping support this effort. A future Sitka Cycling Club project is the building of a skills course or pump track, where mountain bikers can improve their technical riding skills in an area that looks like a motocross track for bikes.

A slideshow of photos from some of the trail-building work at the Aug. 20 work party is linked below (All photos by Lione Clare).

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