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Archive for the ‘Programs’ Category

The Sitka Cycling Club recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the City and Borough of Sitka allowing us to build a single-track mountain bike trail or two using old game trails off the Sitka Cross Trail.

We need your help. We have small volunteer crews (using proper physical distancing) working on our first trail now. They are doing things like clearing brush, laying down rock, making signs, and more. We have started a group text list to send notes to trail crew folks, letting them know when we have small groups going out to work on the trail. If you’re interested in helping, contact Doug Osborne at 738-8734 or douglaso@searhc.org. If you do participate in one of the small work parties, please bring gloves, face mask or bandanna, sturdy boots, and ear plugs (especially if you’re working near someone using a chainsaw).

Another way you can support this project is to donate 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 down the road we may have to pay for signage, tools, fill dirt or rocks, etc. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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The Sitka Cycling Club will hold its monthly meeting from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, at the Sitka Public Library. This meeting is open to all interested folks interested in promoting safe and fun cycling in Sitka.

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages. Topics include brainstorming ideas on how to grow our Sitka Cycling Club; a discussion about covered bike parking, building single-track mountain bike trails off the Sitka Cross Trail, the grand opening of the Salty Spoke Bicycle Collective, club goals for 2020, the renewal process for our Bicycle Friendly Community designation this summer, and other topics.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 738-8734.

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Join the Sitka Cycling Club for a collaboration and planning meeting for a single-track loop on Sitka’s Cross Trail. This meeting is at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, at the Sitka Public Library Gus Adams Meeting Room.

A couple of weeks ago, the Sitka Assembly unanimously passed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Sitka Cycling Club to create a series of single-track mountain bike trails off the Sitka Cross Trail. These are modified game trails that allow for more technical mountain bike expertise compared to the wide, groomed Sitka Cross Trail.

At this meeting, we will plan the first loop and discuss which groups need to collaborate in the project. For more information, contact Doug Osborne at douglaso@searhc.org or 738-8734.

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During its regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Sitka Assembly passed by a 7-0 vote (link goes to video from meeting) a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Sitka Cycling Club to build singletrack trails off the Sitka Cross Trail near Sitka High School.

The project will start small, with one or two trails being built according to the map above. The planned trails already are used as game trails, and the plan is to clean them up so a cyclist can ride a mountain bike on them. Singletrack trails are narrow trails through the woods that promote more technical cycling skills than the larger multi-use Cross Trail. The singletrack trails are designed for cyclists only, no hikers, and the trails will put cyclists deeper into the woods and away from other trail traffic.

If the first trails are considered a success, the Sitka Cycling Club plans to build more singletrack trails on city, USDA Forest Service, and other land around town. In addition to promoting health, singletrack trails also have been shown to strengthen local, state and national economies. Towns with extensive trail systems that include singletrack trails have seen a growth in bicycle tourism, where people travel specifically to a location to ride bikes they either bring with them or rent on location.

The trails will be built to the guidelines established by the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) for the construction of new singletrack trails.

• Sitka Assembly motion to pass the MOU with Sitka Cycling Club

• Interim City Manager Hugh Bevan’s memo to the Sitka Assembly about the MOU

• The MOU between the Sitka Cycling Club and City and Borough of Sitka

• The Use and Maintenance Agreement (Permit) between the Sitka Cycling Club and City and Borough of Sitka

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Are you looking for ways to make Alaska more walking and bicycling friendly? Sitka will host the second annual Alaska Walk and Bike Conference on June 9-13, with the theme of Walk.Bike.Roll. Creating an Equitable Transportation System For All.

While the agenda is still being finalized, but the plan is to bring in a couple of national speakers talk about walking and biking policy, as well as some Alaska and local presenters to round out the event. Our tentative national speakers are Ken McLeod, policy director of the League of American Bicyclists, and Ana Lucaci and Nicole Huguenin of Walk2Connect, a Denver-based nonprofit that has recently worked with Kodiak Walks.

The first two days will mostly be geared toward walking and the second two days will be geared toward biking. To get you out of the conference room, we hope to include group hikes, bike rides, a walk audit, a bike maintenance workshop, and other events throughout the week. Saturday features some free community events — a guided hike, a Sitka Cycling Club group bike ride, and an open house at the Salty Spoke Bike Collective. We will post a tentative agenda when it is ready.

Why is this conference in Sitka? Sitka is the only community in Alaska with both a Bicycle Friendly Community designation (Silver) and a Walk Friendly Communities designation (Bronze). This is a chance to see what works in Sitka, learn more about Walk Sitka and the Sitka Cycling Club and how they deal with some of the challenges they still face in their efforts to become more walkable and bikeable.

Prices for the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference are low — $50 for the full conference, or $30 for the two days of June 9-10 or June 11-12. This year we also will have a special half-day price for either a morning or afternoon session. There will be a couple of lunchtime events, such as lunch-and-learns, that will be open to the public.

Please use this website to register online. We accept online payments by PayPal or credit/debit cards, and if you select the invoice option there is info about where to mail your check. You can find more details about the event at http://walkbikealaska.wordpress.com. You can register at http://akwalkbikeconference.eventsmart.com (click on the event name and follow the instructions).

For more details, contact Doug Osborne at (907) 966-8674 or douglaso@searhc.org, or email akwalkbikeconference@gmail.com. We will have a limited number of travel scholarships available. To learn more and to get an application, contact Dawn Groth at dawn.groth@alaska.gov.

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The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Health Promotion Program is holding a drawing for six high-visibility jackets to encourage Sitka residents to be active and bright this fall.

The drawings for the six high-visibility jackets (similar to the one in the photo above) take place on Monday, Nov. 4. Sitka residents can enter at the Sitka Public Library, Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center, Tongass Threads, Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, and Blatchley Middle School.

Being safe and seen is critical for anybody walking or biking during the winter, and having a high-visibility jacket with reflective tape on it can help improve your safety while allowing you to stay active. Click this link to read more about the importance of being safe and seen, and how you can order free reflective tape from the Center for Safe Alaskans.

For more information about the high-visibility jacket drawings in Sitka, contact SEARHC health educator Doug Osborne at 966-8674 or douglaso@searhc.org.

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When you walk or bike through Alaska during winter’s dark months, are you making sure to “Be Safe, Be Seen?”

Even though a pedestrian may be on sidewalks separated from cars, you still need to make sure your clothes are bright and reflective. That way drivers can see you when they leave their home and business driveways and enter traffic.

Why wearing white is not enough.

Too many people in Alaska wear black clothes during the winter, including when they are walking or biking. This doesn’t give the drivers a fighting chance to see you before it’s too late. Not only is it dark during the winter, but in heavy snow years there are berms that can make it difficult to see walkers and bikers. Also, some drivers don’t wait for their windshields to fully defrost, so their vision is obstructed.

The typical driver needs 260 feet to stop at 60 mph, but dark blue or black clothes only give them about 55 feet. Red clothes are a little bit better, giving drivers 80 feet, while yellow clothes give 120 feet and white clothes give 180 feet (if you can pick the person out from the snow background). People wearing reflectors can be seen as far away as 500 feet.

This is why many Alaska walkers and bikers wear reflective tape on their clothes or reflective vests, even on short trips such as checking the mail or walking the dog. Click here to learn more about the state’s Alaska Reflector Program. The Center for Safe Alaskans’ Bike and Walk Safe Program will mail free reflective tape to people who call (907) 929-3939, or click this link. The Center for Safe Alaskans (when it was known as the Alaska Injury Prevention Center) also produced a YouTube video that shows how reflective tape makes you easier to see.

Don’t forget to put reflective tape on your sleeves, backpack, rain pants, bike helmet and bike frame, not just on the trunk of your jacket. And if you’re biking, don’t forget you are required by state law to have a solid white light on front and red reflector on bike when you are on the road after dark.

“I have found that cutting the (reflective) tape length-wise and placing it on the jacket exterior on a moving part of the body (such as around the wrist area), in addition to placement on the torso, yields high visibility,” said Lulu Jensen, Center for Safe Alaskans project director.

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