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Posts Tagged ‘Sitka National Historical Park’

The threat of rain made it a smaller group of cyclists who turned out for the annual Sitka Community Bike Ride held on Saturday, May 26.

The cyclists met at Totem Square park, and rode the length of Lincoln Street to the entrance of Sitka National Historical Park, then returned to Totem Square park. The annual event capped off about a dozen special events in Sitka for National Bike Month in May, and it commemorated the arrival of what’s thought to be the first bicycle in Sitka 127 years ago (on May 28, 1891).

A slideshow of images from the Sitka Community Bike Ride is posted below.

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Sitka National Historical Park has recently experienced an increase of individuals riding bicycles on park trails and dogs off-leash within park boundaries, which are violations of park regulations. These situations cause safety hazards for other park users hiking on the same trail system, as well as for wildlife within the park.

The National Park Service reminds the public that it is prohibited to ride bicycles anywhere in the park, and dogs must be on-leash at all times in the park, including on the tidelands.

The majority of these violations appear to be occurring in the morning and evening hours as individuals commute to and from work or school, or recreate outside of their work hours. Rangers will be increasing their patrols for violators and will be taking the appropriate law enforcement action, which may include the issuance of a United States Violation Notice in the amount of $75 (plus $35 processing fee) for riding bikes, $50 (plus $35 processing fee) for dogs off-leash, and $300 (plus $35 processing fee) for harassment of wildlife.

Questions or concerns regarding park regulations can be directed to Chief Law Enforcement Ranger Sean Brennan at 907-747-0127 or sean_brennan@nps.gov.​

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DougOsborneLeadsCyclistsIntoSitkaNationalHistoricalPark

Cyclists are allowed to ride in the road leading to the entrance of Sitka National Historical Park, but once inside the park they need to walk their bikes on the narrow trails.

SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignSitka National Historical Park has recently experienced an increase of individuals riding bicycles on park trails, which is a violation of park regulations. This situation causes a safety hazard for other park users hiking on the same trail system, especially due to the large number of walkers on the narrow trails.

The National Park Service reminds the public that it is prohibited to ride bicycles anywhere in the park, and that if a visitor on a bicycle wishes to enter the park, they must get off and walk the bicycle..

The majority of these violations appear to be occurring in the morning and evening hours as individuals commute to and from work or school. Rangers will be increasing their patrols for violators and will be taking the appropriate law enforcement action, which may include the issuance of a United States Violation Notice in the amount of $75.00.

The National Park Service recognizes and supports the upcoming “Bike Your Park Day” on Sept. 24, promoted by the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition locally and the Adventure Cycling Association nationally, but again would like to remind the community that any bicycles in Sitka National Historical Park must be walked.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 413 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more about the Sitka National Historical Park at http://www.nps.gov/sitk or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaNationalHistoricalPark.

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SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignHave you noticed little brown boxes on some of Sitka National Historical Park’s trailside signs?

The park recently installed four traffic counters along the park’s scenic trails. The trail counters are not cameras, they simply provide park managers with an accurate count of the number of people who recreate on the park’s trails. This information is used for annual reporting requirements, budgeting purposes, and maintenance requests.

The original counters were installed in 2014 without protection cases, but were damaged by vandals and the weather.  The counters and their batteries are now encased in brown boxes to protect them from the elements, specifically rain.

Also, a reminder to all cyclists that people are to walk their bicycles through the park trails, not ride them. This is for safety reasons, as there are many elders and children hiking on the trails who may not hear the bikes coming up behind them. In addition, the restriction on biking helps prevent erosion and other damage to the trails. And a reminder that metal detectors are prohibited in all national parks, including Sitka National Historical Park.

Since 2011, there have been no fees collected at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center, which includes the cultural center where Native carving is demonstrated. The only fees are at the Russian Bishop’s House, which uses this fee schedule.

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SAFETY ASSESSMENT: Top photo: Sitka Parks and Recreation Manager Lynne Brandon, left, and Paul Wistrand of the Federal Highway Authority’s Juneau office, second from left, get set to lead a group of cyclists down Halibut Point Road on Thursday, May 7. The tour was part of a safety assessment conducted through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Safer People, Safer Streets” initiative. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx mandated federal, state and local communities do walking and cycling safety assessments, and Wistrand said they chose Sitka for Alaska’s first safety assessments. In addition to the cycling safety assessment, walking tours were held from downtown to the Alaska Raptor Center on Thursday and along Katlian Street on Wednesday, May 6. Bottom photo: Paul Wistrand leads a group of cyclists on a safety assessment that included Halibut Point Road. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photos by James Poulson)

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Pedestrian Bicycle Assessment Invitation for State and Local Partners

Paul Wistrand of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will lead two tours, one walking and one biking, to assess the safety of roads/pathways on Thursday, May 7, in Sitka. (NOTE: The schedule has been revised from what originally was published.)

“I’m looking forward to the bike/pedestrian safety assessment,” Wistrand wrote in an email. “It would be great to get a couple of bicyclists and/or walkers to join us in the assessment, and get their feedback and input into what bicycle and pedestrian features have had the greatest impact in the community.”

Walkers check out the Sitka Sea Walk during its October 2013 grand opening

Walkers check out the Sitka Sea Walk during its October 2013 grand opening

The walking safety assessment meets at Harrigan Centennial at 9 a.m., and after some introductory comments will include a the first segment of the hike along the Sitka Sea Walk to Sitka National Historical Park. The second segment of the hike will be to the Alaska Raptor Center, before participants return to Harrigan Centennial Hall and a lunch break. After lunch, participants will meet back at Harrigan Centennial Hall to mount bicycles for a bike tour along Halibut Point Road to Pioneer Park (near Sea Mart) and back. After each tour segment, participants will complete a short evaluation form. Maps are part of the first attachment linked below.

“The assessment will be a great way to get end users and officials from local, state and federal levels who are involved with bicycle and pedestrian facilities together,” Wistrand wrote. “It’s also a chance to highlight the many improvements to these facilities in Sitka that have contributed to Sitka’s twice being recognized as a bronze-level bike/walk friendly community.”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announces the Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative during the Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place convention in September 2014.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announces the Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative during the Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place convention in September 2014.

These safety assessments are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Safer People, Safer Streets” initiative, where Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx mandated USDOT field offices to partner with state and local communities to do corridor-level safety assessments. One of the reasons for these tours is to help transportation planners, state and local officials, and others learn more about some of the challenges faced by non-motorized transportation users. The safety assessment tours are free and open to the public.

In addition to the publicly announced safety assessments, federal, state and local representatives will be walking and biking other parts of Sitka to rate those areas. One of the additional walking assessments will be of Katlian Street and interested participants can meet with Paul at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, at the Totem Square Inn hotel lobby.

For more information and to RSVP for the free tours, contact Paul Wistrand at 1-907-586-7148 or paul.wistrand@dot.gov.

• Sitka Bike and Pedestrian Assessment Invitation

• Revised Sitka walking and biking safety assessment schedule

• Sample Sitka walking and biking assessment scoresheet

• Safer People, Safer Streets Iniatiative

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Bill the Giant, left, Michael Bricker, center, and Tess Olympia Ramsey with their Sitka Pedicabs, a new business launching this week in Sitka.

Bill the Giant, left, Michael Bricker, center, and Tess Olympia Ramsey with their Sitka Pedicabs, a new business launching this week in Sitka.

There are three new cabs in Sitka, but these black-and-green cabs are human-powered. Michael Bricker recently bought three pedicabs and he is launching Sitka Pedicabs this week, just in time for the 2012 summer tourism season.

Michael will pedal one of the three pedicabs himself, and he will lease the other two to Bill the Giant (that’s his legal name, it used to be Bill Payton until a few months ago) and Tess Olympia Ramsey. Michael said the pedicabs will be a good way to help tourists get around, especially when they have limited time off the boat and they have to walk three miles to get to Sitka National Historical Park so they can check out the totems before having to hurry to get back to the dock for their lightering boat. The distance sometimes was too much for elderly tourists.

“I saw the tourists looking around for landmarks, and they’d stop to ask you where they were,” Michael said. “When you let them know how far it was, you could see them kind of give up on being able to get there.”

Michael Bricker, left, Bill the Giant, center, and Tess Olympia Ramsey uncrate one of the new Sitka Pedicabs on April 21, 2012.

Michael Bricker, left, Bill the Giant, center, and Tess Olympia Ramsey uncrate one of the new Sitka Pedicabs on April 21, 2012.

Michael said he, Bill and Tess will charge $2 a block per person, or $15 for a half-hour tour of downtown Sitka. He said the rates are an industry standard found in several other communities. In addition to taking tourists on Sitka’s main downtown area of Lincoln and Katlian streets, the pedicabs will be able to take tourists off-the-beaten-path destinations such as the geodesic house. The pedicabs also will be available to hire for weddings, proms and other special events. He also is selling banner space on the back of the pedicabs to advertise local businesses (one of the spots is reserved for Balanced Practice, the massage and yoga studio owned by Michael’s wife Crystal Oostema).

A former member of the U.S. Coast Guard, Michael now works as a massage therapist and is a judo coach. “The judo keeps me strong enough to do this,” he said.

In addition to having a snap-on water-resistant cover to keep passengers dry, the Sitka Pedicabs also feature working running lights and turn signals that are powered by a 12-volt battery.

In addition to having a snap-on water-resistant cover to keep passengers dry, the Sitka Pedicabs also feature working running lights and turn signals that are powered by a 12-volt battery.

The pedicabs were built by Main Street Pedicabs, which sells several varieties. Each pedicab can hold 2-3 people (depending on their size) and has 21 speeds. They also have water-resistant canvas covers to keep passengers dry during the ride. In addition, they have running lights on the front and back, with working turn signals. Michael has been in Ashland, Ore., taking a two-week bicycle mechanics course from the United Bicycle Institute so he can perform his own maintenance on the pedicabs.

While Michael has been at mechanics school, Bill and Tess have been getting used to the pedicabs. They’re looking forward to the summer.

“It seems like fun,” Bill said. “We’ll be getting exercise and fresh air.”

“We already bike everywhere, so we might as well get paid for it,” Tess said. “We can show off Sitka.”

Michael is building a website, http://www.sitkapedicabs.com/, but it’s not live yet. For now, people can contact him at 752-1025 or sitkapedicabs@gmail.com for more information.

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Stakeholders will gather at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 10, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to sign the Sitka Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Action Plan. (Editor’s note: Here is a link to a KCAW-Raven Radio story about Tuesday’s signing ceremony).

This plan has been in the works for about two years, though it hit a bump in the road about a year ago. The steering committee featured a variety of stakeholders — the Tongass National Forest Sitka Ranger District, Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, City and Borough of Sitka, Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka National Historical Park, Sitka Trail Works Inc., Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). In addition to the major agencies, there also were local outdoor-oriented businesses and individuals on the committee, and there was extensive public comment as the plan was developed.

“The real accomplishment of this plan is how many entities worked together to create it,” said Andrew Thoms, Executive Director of the Sitka Conservation Society. “It included input from citizens, local businesses, NGOs, and state and federal agencies. This plan will be an important tool for everyone working together to make community investments in tourism and recreation so that we have a community that is a great place for Sitkans to live in and a great place for tourists to visit.”

The plan provides two main products — an ambitious and comprehensive set of outdoor recreation projects, and a list of community priorities. By agreeing to continue to work together, these parties are expanding the community’s capability to be a better place to live, visit, work and play, the signing ceremony flier said.

“Without the help of community members, this plan would not have been possible,” said Carol Goularte, District Ranger, Sitka Ranger District, R10 Tongass National Forest, who helped coordinate the planning process. “It is a dynamic plan of important ideas that will be flushed out by landowners and stakeholders based on what is sustainable over time. Adding a new trail or facility is always a benefit. However, the big question is maintaining what we have and what will we give up if we add something new?”

For some of the history of the process, go to http://www.outdoorsitka.com/, a site maintained by contracted facilitators Agnew::Beck Consulting. A final draft of the plan (minus signatures) is posted below as a PDF document.

Sitka_Outdoor_Rec_Action_Plan_FINAL_4-5-2012

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