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Posts Tagged ‘Sitka Conservation Society’

KK Prussian, left, and Laurent Deviche work on the Middle Machete Loop during a recent Sitka Cycling Club work party. The loop is nearly finished and when completed will be the fourth loop built this summer. The Sitka Cycling Club finished the loop in early October 2020.

In late November 2020, the Sitka Cycling Club initiated a survey to begin a master plan for mountain biking trails in Sitka. Our ultimate goal is to provide more mountain biking opportunities to the Sitka community.

With more than 70 responses, the club received a community-wide picture of respondents’ desires for trail length, difficulty and location as well as long-form comments to the four trails built in 2020. If you took the survey, we are thankful for your involvement in the project, and we are so happy to have a chance to develop this fantastic sport here in Sitka.

For context, half of respondents classify themselves as intermediate level bikers, and are most likely to bike between 20-60 minutes an outing. As far as near-term projects that entail a low budget and volunteer labor, the most requested advancement was adding to the current network of single-track in and near the Sitka Cross Trail in town. Development of No Name Mountain also received strong support.

In the long term for projects that require more fundraising and partnership with other entities, expansion of the Indian River Trail to bikes received the most interest by a fair margin. (It’s important to note that if any work were to happen here, we would ensure that trail expansion is permitted in the area and that there is consideration put toward those who walk the trail.) The Green Lake area received the second most interest.

Regarding difficulty, preference was split between easy and more difficult, with the latter carrying more interest. Additionally, close to three-fourths of respondents showed interest in both a skills park and a pump track individually. However, when asked to rank them, more interest was shown in a skills park.

In the longer answer sections, we saw patterns in responses requesting more opportunities for flow, jumps, smaller gravel on the track, and longer trails. Another interesting point that was mentioned multiple times was interest in a Harbor Mountain downhill trail. While only 36 percent of respondents flagged it as a near-term preference, the written responses regard it as an ideal opportunity for the jumps, flow, and length that many riders want to see developed.

As for next steps, based on this information, we plan to start developing a comprehensive plan schedule to prioritize, budget and plan for work parties. We will brainstorm ways to collaborate with other Sitka organizations throughout the project.

Thanks go out to Amadea Wilhite and Reese Jacobs, both students at Outer Coast, for leading the survey effort. The club hopes to enlist more Outer Coast students in the coming months to continue the master planning process.

As well, our partners in trail building during 2020 were crucial — Raven’s Way, Youth Advocates of Sitka, Joel Hanson of Southeast Alaska Independent Living, Rotary Club of Sitka, Troy’s Excavation, Sitka Trail Works, Sitka Conservation Society, Outer Coast, City and Borough of Sitka, and our donors.

We began our efforts to build single-track mountain bike trail loops last spring, and have completed four loops to date — 907, Ewok, Little Machete, and Middle Machete. When added to the new Xóots Dei trail recently constructed by Sitka Conservation Society’s Community Conservation Corps, we now have about a half-mile of dedicated single-track mountain bike trail close to town.

Thanks to all who hauled gravel, stomped on trail, cut logs, and sent moral support messages along the way; many hands make light work. We are gratified to see so many Sitkans responding to the survey, indicating their interest in volunteering to help build trail or donate money to help fund the work. We will post progress updates on our website, https://sitkacycling.wordpress.com, and on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SitkaCycling.

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(The following article and photographs were produced by Sitka Conservation Society winter fellow Amy Li and a version originally appeared on the Sitka Trail Works website. It is reprinted here with permission.)

Bikes have been making a comeback. From the drastic increase in bike purchases to a newfound dependence on biking as a means of transportation, the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new age for bicycles and Sitka has been no different.

Sitkans have been rediscovering the power of the pedal, both as a cost-effective means for getting around town and for exercise. By the end of June, Sitka’s bicycle shop Yellow Jersey Cycling Shop had sold out of its inventory and has had difficulty restocking ever since. The skyrocketing interest has also led to more creative approaches to biking. This summer, the Sitka Cycling Club spearheaded an innovative effort within the community: mountain bike trails. With the socially-distanced dedication of volunteers from all ages and backgrounds, four new mountain bike trails were brought to life along the Sitka Cross Trail.

Mountain biking offers a different way of engaging with the sport for the new wave of Sitka cyclists. “Sitka has been deficient in mountain bike trails over the years. We’ve had dirt roads that you could ride on, but as far as mountain biking, there weren’t any significant trails in town,” Yellow Jersey Cycling Shop owner Bill Hughes said. “But now with the new trails, I think it’s going to open up a lot of new recreational opportunities for people.”

Mountain biker and Sitka Cycling Club volunteer KK Prussian concurs. “I think the diversity of recreation that mountain bike trails bring is a whole new thing for Sitka. I’m really hoping it will give the youth something they’re really excited about and build stewardship with them,” she said.

Although Sitka might seem like the perfect place for mountain biking enthusiasts, with its lush forested scenery and steep inclines, mountain bike trails, and trails in general, but building trails is a large undertaking.

Despite these challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic, community members came out in force to build new MTB trails along the Cross Trail this summer. Hauling five-gallon buckets of gravel by hand, the trails — named 907, Ewok, Little Machete, and Middle Machete Loop — were brought to life by volunteers with the Sitka Cycling Club. These four trails, however, are rated for more advanced mountain bikers.

Both Hughes and Prussian advocated for easier routes for those new to the sport, as well as adding length to the newly built trails.

Prussian explained that the amount of “easy” trail that was feasible to build was minimal “because of the terrain we have, the limited scope we have with volunteers, and the lack of heavy equipment.”

Indeed, building mountain bike trails requires planning, labor, gravel and fill, and, ideally, heavy machinery. Fortunately, Sitka Conservation Society (SCS) Community Conservation Corps (CCC) program lead Ben Hughey, project lead Blain Anderson, and the hard-working Corps have pulled together all of those prerequisites. In partnership with Sitka Trail Works, Sitka Cycling Club, Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), and others, the Community Conservation Corps has constructed an additional trail in the recently built mountain bike trail network.

The new spur, which comes in on the Cross Trail connector behind Sitka High School, connects with two existing MTB trails, Ewok and 907. It is roughly 600 feet in length and, with smaller grades and elevation changes, is well-suited for beginning mountain bikers. Thanks to a mini excavator and motorized gravel dump, the newly built section of single-track trail has a wider and smoother tread compared to the existing MTB trails. This beginner trail will allow community members a safe and approachable entry point for the sport.

Prussian hopes that the MTB community in Sitka will expand, thanking the City for supporting recreation projects like this.

“I’d love to see a year-round program of young adults adding to the length and maintaining the trails on an annual basis,” she said, citing benefits of healthy lifestyles and land stewardship. “I think that would be outstanding.”

For now, the Corps will continue to clear hazard trees, lay logs, and pile gravel in the hopes that this new trail will get more people outside, on their bikes, exploring their public lands.

A slideshow of images showing trail construction follows below.

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The weather forecast was for rain, but instead it was sunny and perfect weather for the fifth annual Kidical Mass family oriented bike ride Saturday, Sept. 14.

This event, which drew about 40-50 riders, featured a ride of about 1.5 miles from the tennis courts/Sitka Community Playground across from Sheldon Jackson Campus to the Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School covered playground area. It was held in conjunction with dozens of other Kidical Mass rides around the world, as Sept. 14 was declared Kidical Massive with the hope of having the biggest family bike ride ever, according to Kidical Massive organizers in Eugene, Ore.

Kidical Mass is a legal, safe and FUN bike ride for kids, kids at heart, and their families. The first ride was held in 2008 in Eugene, Ore., and has now spread to dozens of communities throughout North America and beyond. Kidical Mass rides encourage safe riding for kids and families, with education about how to safely ride on the roads.

The Sitka Kidical Mass ride featured bike safety checks, bike helmet fitting (reminder, Sitka has a youth bike helmet ordinance with all riders age 18 or younger required to use a helmet), door prizes, bike skills events, and a variety of snacks.

Local organizers include the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition4-HUAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District OfficeSitka Conservation SocietyYouth Advocates of Sitka, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC).

A slideshow of scenes from the ride is posted below.

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Cyclists of all ages are invited to join Sitka’s fifth “Kidical Mass” family bike ride, which is scheduled to start at the Sitka Community Playground across from Sheldon Jackson Campus at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14.

The group will bike to Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, where there will be complimentary snacks, door prizes and fun activities. There also will be free bike safety checks and helmet-fitting before the ride starts, so get to the playground/tennis courts early.

Each participant will need a bike, a helmet (Sitka has a youth helmet ordinance for everybody age 18 or younger), and an adult (or kid-at-heart) to ride with. Kidical Mass events encourage family participation and teaching young riders bike safety on the road. We will have a few new helmets available for those who need them.

Kidical Mass is a legal, safe and FUN bike ride for kids, kids at heart, and their families. The first ride was held in 2008 in Eugene, Ore., and has now spread to dozens of communities throughout North America and beyond. Kidical Mass rides encourage safe riding for kids and families, with education about how to safely ride on the roads.

Sept. 14 has been dubbed “Kidical Massive” by the Oregon organizers, who are calling for Kidical Mass rides in dozens of communities that they estimate will be the biggest global family bike ride ever. Sitka hosted its first Kidical Mass event as part of Kidical Massive in 2015, and you can see photos by clicking this link. Sitka’s second Kidical Mass ride was in 2016, and photos can be found here. Photos from Sitka’s third Kidical Mass in 2017 can be found here.

Local organizers include the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition4-HUAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District OfficeSitka Conservation SocietyYouth Advocates of Sitka, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC).  For more information, call Doug Osborne at 738-8734.

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Cyclists of all ages are invited to join Sitka’s fourth “Kidical Mass” family bike ride, which is scheduled to start at the Sitka Community Playground across from Sheldon Jackson Campus at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15.

The group will bike to Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, where there will be complimentary pedal-powered smoothies, door prizes and fun activities. There also will be free bike safety checks and helmet-fitting before the ride starts, so get to the playground/tennis courts early.

Each participant will need a bike, a helmet (Sitka has a youth helmet ordinance for everybody age 18 or younger), and an adult (or kid-at-heart) to ride with. Kidical Mass events encourage family participation and teaching young riders bike safety on the road. We will have a few new helmets available for those who need them.

Kidical Mass is a legal, safe and FUN bike ride for kids, kids at heart, and their families. The first ride was held in 2008 in Eugene, Ore., and has now spread to dozens of communities throughout North America and beyond. Kidical Mass rides encourage safe riding for kids and families, with education about how to safely ride on the roads.

Sept. 15 has been dubbed “Kidical Massive” by the Oregon organizers, who are calling for Kidical Mass rides in dozens of communities that they estimate will be the biggest global family bike ride ever. Sitka hosted its first Kidical Mass event as part of Kidical Massive in 2015, and you can see photos by clicking this link. Sitka’s second Kidical Mass ride was in 2016, and photos can be found here. Photos from Sitka’s third Kidical Mass in 2017 can be found here.

Local organizers include the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition4-HUAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District OfficeSitka Conservation SocietyYouth Advocates of Sitka, and Sitka Community Hospital.  For more information, call Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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Raingear was the attire of the day, but the predicted storms held off long enough for Sitka to host a damp third Kidical Mass family oriented bike ride Saturday, Sept. 16.

This event, which drew about 40-60 riders, featured a ride of about 1.5 miles from the tennis courts/playground across from Sheldon Jackson Campus to the Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School covered playground area. It was held in conjunction with dozens of other Kidical Mass rides around the world, as Sept. 16 was declared Kidical Massive with the hope of having the biggest family bike ride ever, according to Kidical Massive organizers in Eugene, Ore.

Kidical Mass is a legal, safe and FUN bike ride for kids, kids at heart, and their families. The first ride was held in 2008 in Eugene, Ore., and has now spread to dozens of communities throughout North America and beyond. Kidical Mass rides encourage safe riding for kids and families, with education about how to safely ride on the roads.

The Sitka Kidical Mass ride featured bike safety checks, bike helmet fitting (reminder, Sitka has a youth bike helmet ordinance with all riders age 18 or younger required to use a helmet), door prizes, bike skills events, and pedal-powered smoothies (where the blender was powered by a bike).

Local organizers included the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition4-HUAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District OfficeSitka Conservation SocietyBig Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, and Sitka Community Hospital.

A slideshow of scenes from the ride is posted below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Cyclists of all ages are invited to join Sitka’s third “Kidical Mass” family bike ride, which is scheduled to start at the playground/tennis courts across from Sheldon Jackson Campus at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16.

The group will bike to Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, where there will be complimentary pedal-powered smoothies, door prizes and fun activities. There also will be free bike safety checks and helmet-fitting before the ride starts, so get to the playground/tennis courts early.

Each participant will need a bike, a helmet (Sitka has a youth helmet ordinance for everybody age 18 or younger), and an adult (or kid-at-heart) to ride with. Kidical Mass events encourage family participation and teaching young riders bike safety on the road. We will have a few new helmets available for those who need them.

Kidical Mass is a legal, safe and FUN bike ride for kids, kids at heart, and their families. The first ride was held in 2008 in Eugene, Ore., and has now spread to dozens of communities throughout North America and beyond. Kidical Mass rides encourage safe riding for kids and families, with education about how to safely ride on the roads.

Sept. 16 has been dubbed “Kidical Massive” by the Oregon organizers, who are calling for Kidical Mass rides in dozens of communities that they estimate will be the biggest global family bike ride ever. Sitka hosted its first Kidical Mass event as part of Kidical Massive in 2015, and you can see photos by clicking this link. Sitka’s second Kidical Mass ride was in 2016, and photos can be found here.

Local organizers include the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition4-HUAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District OfficeSitka Conservation SocietyBig Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, and Sitka Community Hospital.  For more information, call Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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groupphotoatendofkidicalmass

kidical_mass_signRaingear was the attire of the day, but the predicted storms held off long enough for Sitka to host a damp second Kidical Mass family oriented bike ride Saturday, Sept. 17.

This event, which drew about 30-40 riders, featured a ride of about 1.5 miles from the tennis courts/playground across from Sheldon Jackson Campus to the Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School covered playground area. It was held in conjunction with dozens of other Kidical Mass rides around the world, as Sept. 17 was declared Kidical Massive with the hope of having the biggest family bike ride ever, according to Kidical Massive organizers in Eugene, Ore.

Kidical Mass is a legal, safe and FUN bike ride for kids, kids at heart, and their families. The first ride was held in 2008 in Eugene, Ore., and has now spread to dozens of communities throughout North America and beyond. Kidical Mass rides encourage safe riding for kids and families, with education about how to safely ride on the roads.

The Sitka Kidical Mass ride featured bike safety checks, bike helmet fitting (reminder, Sitka has a youth bike helmet ordinance with all riders age 18 or younger required to use a helmet), door prizes (including two traffic yellow rain jackets), bike skills events, and pedal-powered smoothies (where the blender was powered by a bike). In addition, Dave Nuetzel of Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) brought a handcycle to demonstrate how people with lower-leg issues can still ride a bike.

Local organizers included the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition, 4-H, UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District Office, Sitka Conservation Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, the Rotary Club of Sitka, Alaska’s Sesquicentennial Commemoration, and Sitka Community Hospital.

A slideshow of scenes from the ride is posted below.

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KidicalMass2016Flier

kidical_mass_signCyclists of all ages are invited to join Sitka’s second “Kidical Mass” family bike ride, which is scheduled to start at the playground/tennis courts across from Sheldon Jackson Campus at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17.

The group will bike to Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, where there will be complimentary pedal-powered smoothies, door prizes (including high visibility coats) and fun activities. There also will be free bike safety checks and helmet-fitting before the ride starts, so get to the playground/tennis courts early.

Each participant will need a bike, a helmet (Sitka has a youth helmet ordinance for everybody age 18 or younger), and an adult to ride with. Kidical Mass events encourage family participation and teaching young riders bike safety on the road. We will have a few new helmets available for those who need them.

Kidical Mass is a legal, safe and FUN bike ride for kids, kids at heart, and their families. The first ride was held in 2008 in Eugene, Ore., and has now spread to dozens of communities throughout North America and beyond. Kidical Mass rides encourage safe riding for kids and families, with education about how to safely ride on the roads.

Sept. 17 has been dubbed “Kidical Massive” by the Oregon organizers, who are calling for Kidical Mass rides in dozens of communities that they estimate will be the biggest global family bike ride ever. Last year, Sitka hosted its first Kidical Mass event as part of Kidical Massive, and you can see photos by clicking this link.

Local organizers include the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition, 4-H, UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District Office, Sitka Conservation Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, the Rotary Club of Sitka, Alaska’s Sesquicentennial Commemoration, and Sitka Community Hospital.  For more information, call Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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GroupPhotoAfterCommunityRide

MayorMimMcConnellLeadsGroupOutOfParkAbout 50-75 Sitka residents participated in the Sitka Community Bike Ride and Cookout held Saturday, May 23, as part of Sitka’s National Bike Month festivities and was co-hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society and the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition.

The festivities started with free bike mechanic checks, then reflective safety vests were distributed and Mayor Mim McConnell led cyclists on a short bike parade from the Crescent Harbor Shelter to Sitka National Historical Park and back (due to police staffing issues, our route was changed from the original plan to ride through downtown on Lincoln Street).

After giving out some prizes for the best decorated bikes, the cyclists then headed out to Halibut Point Recreation Area State Park for a cookout of rockfish, hot dogs and veggie burgers. Scenes from the Sitka Community Bike Ride and Cookout are in the slideshow below.

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