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Posts Tagged ‘Sitka High School’

Saturday, June 5, is National Trails Day this year, and the Sitka Cycling Club will celebrate by hosting a work party on its newest single-track mountain bike trail, Haa Latseen.

The work party takes place from 9 a.m. to noon, and takes place on the new loop off the Sitka Cross Trail. To reach the new loop, enter the Cross Trail from the Sitka High School entrance and go north (left from the spur) for about 120 yards. If you get as far as the gravel pile, you’ve gone about 60 feet too far.

The trail was named by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), which contributed $1,500 toward its construction. In Tlingít, Haa Latseen means strength of mind, body, and spirit. Work started on the trail on May 1, and there are regular work parties from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons this summer.

This is part of a series of single-track mountain bike trail loops the Sitka Cycling Club started building in 2020. Last summer the club built four loops, plus another loop was built by a group sponsored by the Sitka Conservation Society Community Conservation Corps. The goal is to build three more trails this summer, while also moving forward on a pump track project.

Speaking of the proposed pump track, the City and Borough of Sitka Parks and Recreation Committee will meet at noon on Tuesday, June 8, in Harrigan Centennial Hall, 330 Harbor Drive. Agenda items include: Sitka Cycling Club Pump Track; Upper Moller Field Use; Lower Moller Field; Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan. The meeting is open to the public.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and state health mandates encouraging residents to practice social distancing, and limit group gatherings, individuals that would like to participate by teleconference can contact jessica.earnshaw@cityofsitka.org or call 747-1826 by 10:00 a.m. the day of the meeting to obtain information to join the meeting.

These trails don’t build themselves. While we use (and so much appreciate) our volunteer labor, we still need to purchase gravel, shovels, wheelbarrows and other supplies. That’s where you come in, please donate to our efforts today. 

We are applying for a grant to help finance more trails, and the grant requires matching funding. We need people to pitch in so that we can match dollar for dollar. Please send a few bucks (or a few hundred) to the Sitka Cycling Club through our PayPal site, which accepts PayPal as well as credit/debit cards. You also can mail checks to Sitka Cycling Club, c/o Charles Bingham, treasurer, 405 Marine Street, Apt. No. 6, Sitka, Alaska 99835.

We also are looking for people to volunteer on our trail-building teams, with work parties from 4-6 p.m. every Tuesday and at a time TBA on the first Saturday of the month. We now have an online volunteer registration page, where people can sign up for specific work parties so we can make sure we stay Covid-safe on the trails.

We appreciate everybody’s help on this project. Thank you for your assistance. For more details on how to volunteer, contact single-track project leader Amy Volz at amy.volz@outlook.com.

A slideshow of trail-construction photos from May is linked below. These photos, including the one at the top of this post, were taken by Lione Clare.

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TRAIL HELP –  Jessika Bean, project coordinator in SEARHC’s Health Promotion Department, left, presents a $1,500 check from SEARHC to Amy Volz,  the single-track trails project manager for the Sitka Cycling Club, recently. The money will be used to support the construction of a new single-track mountain bike trail, Haa Latseen, a spur off the Sitka Cross Trail. Volunteer work parties are held from 4-6 p.m. every Tuesday this summer and from 9 a.m. to noon on the first Saturday of the month. At the May 1 work party volunteers built the first 40 feet of trail and removed 820 pounds of rusty metal, litter, and trash that was in the area of the new trail behind Sitka High School. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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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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Angela McGraw shovels gravel into a wheelbarrow so it can be used to surface the 907 single-track loop off the Sitka Cross Trail.

The Sitka Cycling Club is nearing its goal of having built its first official single-track mountain bike loop off the Sitka Cross Trail, and volunteers are needed to help continue the work so the trail will be open for riding by June 1.

The Sitka Cycling Club hosted regular trail work parties (limited to five people due so people can work far enough apart for health and safety) from 5-7 p.m. on Thursdays in May, with the next one set for May 21. Hopefully this will be the final scheduled work party before the trail is turned over to the city for final inspection and approval on Friday, May 22.

Bill Spivey takes a test ride on the new 907 single-track loop off the Sitka Cross Trail

To protect everybody’s health and safety during the COVID-19 outbreaks, all volunteers should bring sturdy shoes, work gloves, bandanas, face masks, ear plugs (especially for those who might work near someone using a chainsaw), buckets for hauling gravel, and wheelbarrows. There are tasks individuals and smaller groups can accomplish if they can’t make the Thursday groups. If you want to help, please RSVP with volunteer coordinator Amy Volz at amy.volz@outlook.com or 907-957-6009 (text) so she can coordinate the work parties to keep them to a safe size.

Dubbed 907, the first single-track loop can be found by entering the Sitka Cross Trail from the Sitka High School auditorium parking lot and turning right at the first junction (lime-green shaded area on right side of map). The loop has been laid out, and plastic sheeting spread to mark the trail. Now, workers are filling it in with rock, gravel and dirt.

Calder Prussian, 12, rides down a section of newly completed bike trail off the Cross Trail on May 10. Calder is one of the Sitka cyclists who have volunteered time to build the spur trail. Volunteers will be following social distancing protocols while working on the new path this evening. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson)

The Daily Sitka Sentinel recently ran a story about the trail project, and you can read it by clicking this link.

Thanks to Laurent Deviche for serving as trail supervisor, Amy Volz for coordinating work parties, the Bayne family for bringing in gravel and other supplies, and the Raven’s Way students for labor. If you missed helping on this trail loop, we hope to have other trail loops to build later in the summer.

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 signs, tools, fill dirt or rocks, etc. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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The Sitka Cycling Club is just more than a month away from its goal of having built its first official single-track mountain bike loop off the Sitka Cross Trail, and volunteers are needed to help continue the work.

The Sitka Cycling Club will host regular trail work parties (limited to five people due so people can work far enough apart for health and safety) from 5-7 p.m. on Thursdays, starting on April 30 and going every Thursday the entire month of May.

To protect everybody’s health and safety during the COVID-19 outbreaks, all volunteers should bring sturdy shoes, work gloves, bandanas, face masks, ear plugs (especially for those who might work near someone using a chainsaw), buckets for hauling gravel, and wheelbarrows. There are tasks individuals and smaller groups can accomplish if they can’t make the Thursday groups. If you want to help, please RSVP with volunteer coordinator Amy Volz at amy.volz@outlook.com so she can coordinate the work parties to keep them to a safe size.

Dubbed 907, the first single-track loop can be found by entering the Sitka Cross Trail from the Sitka High School auditorium parking lot and turning right at the first junction (lime-green shaded area on right side of map). The loop has been laid out, and plastic sheeting spread to mark the trail. Now, workers are filling it in with rock, gravel and dirt.

Laurent Deviche, who is supervising the trail-building project, said this is trail work people can do on their own:
“Volunteers can continue to lay coarse, fist-sized gravel from the nearby streams using buckets on the trail that is marked with orange pin flags. When taking rock from the stream channels be careful not to take it from places that could cause the stream to alter its existing channel. The middle pile of gravel that was delivered is almost gone, but that can also be used as the base layer in that section. Remember we are shooting for a 16- to 18-inch tread width.
​”It would be helpful to bring your own wheelbarrow to cart rocks from the pile to the trail.
We will continue to post updates to work that can be done throughout the week.” (Contact Amy Volz to get on the email list for trail updates.)
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 signs, tools, fill dirt or rocks, etc. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Even though we are still practicing social distancing, the Sitka Cycling Club is making progress on building its first single-track mountain bike loop off the Sitka Cross Trail.

The next small work party will meet from 3-6 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, near the Sitka High School entrance to the Sitka Cross Trail (take a right on the trail from the high school auditorium parking lot). Contact volunteer coordinator Amy Volz at amy.volz@outlook.com for more details.

Due to the need to protect everybody’s health and safety during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, we are limiting the size of work parties and also requiring gloves, masks, and social-distancing while working on the trail. Thursday’s work party is limited to five people total, and we already have two volunteers and need three more.

Individuals also can help outside the scheduled time. Laurent Deviche, who is supervising the trail-building project (alternately known as Bear’s House or 907), said this is trail work people can do on their own:

“If people want to go work before next Thursday they can keep hauling fist-sized rocks and put them on top of the fabric. See the pictures attached. Rocks can be brought in from the creek near the stake that is shown in the picture. Two trees have green flagging next to this same creek. We are also putting the first top layer of smaller gravel on top of  the base layer, from the delivered piles that Troy (Bayne) brought (use the middle pile first). This is much easier with a wheel barrow. Next week we can use more wheel barrows and buckets.

​”If you can do some rock work, please be mindful of anyone else also working on the trail by keeping your distance.”

The goal is to have the first loop ready to ride by June 1. The Sitka Cycling Club signed a MOU with the City and Borough of Sitka to build the single-track loops off the Sitka Cross Trail in February. In addition to gloves and masks or bandanas, volunteers should wear sturdy work boots and ear plugs (especially if you are working in the same area as someone using a chain saw).

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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Cyclists ride on the Sitka Cross Trail (Photo courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

To celebrate National Bike MonthSitka Trail Works and the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition invites the public to a free bike tour, guided by Doug Osborne, on the Sitka Cross Trail. The event is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 4,  and will meet at the Cross Trail access near the Sitka Performing Arts Center.

The tour is approximately a 10 miles, moderate to strenuous ride to Kramer Drive and back to the trailhead. The Cross Trail access point is behind Sitka High School, near the Sitka Performing Arts Center.

For more information, call 747-7244, or visit http://www.sitkatrailworks.org.

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Cyclists ride on the Sitka Cross Trail (Photo courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

To celebrate National Bike MonthSitka Trail Works and the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition invites the public to a free bike tour, guided by Doug Osborne, on the Sitka Cross Trail. The event is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 5,  and will meet at the Indian River trailhead.

The tour is approximately a 10 miles, moderate to strenuous ride to Kramer Drive and back to the trailhead. The Indian River trailhead parking lot is up Indian River Road a half mile; take a right off Indian River Road across from Peter Simpson Road.

The trail parallels Yaw Drive and then crosses a beautiful muskeg with stunted forest fringe, travels through old growth forest to the Gavin Hill Trail intersection at about the one-mile mark and passes through young forests growing back after harvest. At 1.7 miles the trail branches off to Sitka High School and also widens where it is located over an old logging road. The trail continues on 0.2 mile coming out behind the Kimsham ball fields; then passes the uphill side of the water tower and continues another 0.8 miles, crossing a wooden bridge over Cascade Creek, then a short steep uphill and on to the Kramer Avenue trailhead.

For more information, call 747-7244, or visit http://www.sitkatrailworks.org.

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Cyclists ride on the Sitka Cross Trail (Photo courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

To celebrate National Bike Month, Sitka Trail Works and the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition invites the public to a free bike tour, guided by Doug Osborne, on the Sitka Cross Trail. The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 27,  and will meet at the Indian River trailhead.

The tour is approximately a 10 miles, moderate to strenuous ride to Kramer Drive and back to the trailhead. The Indian River trailhead parking lot is up Indian River Road a half mile; take a right off Indian River Road across from Peter Simpson Road.

The trail parallels Yaw Drive and then crosses a beautiful muskeg with stunted forest fringe, travels through old growth forest to the Gavin Hill Trail intersection at about the one-mile mark and passes through young forests growing back after harvest. At 1.7 miles the trail branches off to Sitka High School and also widens where it is located over an old logging road. The trail continues on 0.2 mile coming out behind the Kimsham ball fields; then passes the uphill side of the water tower and continues another 0.8 miles, crossing a wooden bridge over Cascade Creek, then a short steep uphill and on to the Kramer Avenue trailhead.

For more information, call 747-7244, or visit http://www.sitkatrailworks.org.

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Cyclists ride on the Sitka Cross Trail (Photo courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

SitkaTrailWorkslogoThe public is invited to join Sitka Trail Works on a free guided bike tour Saturday, Aug. 27, on the Sitka Cross Trial. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Indian River trailhead.

The tour is approximately a 10-mile moderate to strenuous ride to Kramer Drive and back to the trailhead. The trailhead is up Indian River Road, take a right across from Peter Simpson Road to the Indian River Trailhead parking lot.

The Cross Trail is about .2 mile up the Indian River Trail. The trail begins on the flood plain of Indian River among huge Sitka spruce and western hemlock. It continues through bogs with stunted forest fringe, intersects the Gavin Hill Trail at about the 1-mile mark and passes through young forests growing back after harvest. At 1.7 miles the trail branches off to Sitka High School and also widens where it is located over an old logging road. The trail continues on 0.2 mile coming out behind the baseball field; then passes the uphill side of the water tower and continues another 0.8 mile crossing a wooden bridge over Cascade Creek, then a short steep uphill and on to the Kramer Avenue trailhead.

Sitka Trail Works board members Sara Bergendahl and Brian Hanson will lead the tour. For more information, call 747-7244 or visit http://www.sitkatrailworks.org.

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