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Blue Lake Road and Green Lake Road – Access Update Feb 2017

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The City & Borough of Sitka has issued a statement that repairs to Blue Lake Road and Green Lake Road are nearing completion.

Both roads are now open to public pedestrian access.  Vehicle access to the Heart Lake/Thimbleberry Lake and the Beaver Lake Trails via Blue Lake Road remains closed.

The extensive road repairs are primarily being funded by the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management as repairs from the 2015 landslide.  These repairs will allow the Electric Department to complete the dam overlook project which will lead to a reopening of public vehicle access to Blue Lake sometime next fall.  The closure is meant to ensure the safety of the public while large construction equipment is working on the narrow roads.

For additional information please contact the City Electric Department at 747-4000.

NEW ADDED VALUE FOR MEMBERS

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For your holiday shopping – don’t miss out on 10% discounts with our new member’s discount program at three of our Sitka outdoor/hiking gear vendors. This discount program will work on a calendar year basis; so if you have donated to Sitka Trail Works since January 1, 2016, you should have received your 2016 STW Member Card, the flyer below and our Fall newsletter. If you haven’t donated yet, this is an excellent reason to donate now so you can get the most benefit from our membership discount program the remainder of this calendar year.

If you didn’t get your member card or newsletter, contact us by calling 907-747-7244.  (For a look at the Fall Newsletter, just go to the menu bar at the left side of this page and click on the “Newsletter” button.)

member-card-flyer_final_2016_doc55

Thanks to all for a Great Hiking Season!

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Public Meeting Announcement: Sitka Trail Works, in partnership with the City and Borough of Sitka, is planning Phase 6 improvements to the Sitka Cross Trail system. A public meeting to receive comment on the project will be held on November 29th at Centennial Hall, Sitka from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. Detailed maps and information about this project will be shared at this meeting (for a preview, click on the Current Projects tab at top of this page).

The Phase 6 project will build a new multiuse component of the Cross Trail system extending from the Harbor Mountain Road to Starrigavan. The public input received at the public meeting will be a major factor in determining the final trail alignment.

Questions about the project may be directed to Lynne Brandon, Sitka Trail Works, (907) 747-7244. Please send an email to trail@gci.net. or written comments may be mailed to Sitka Trail Works at 801 Halibut Point Rd., Sitka, AK 99835. Comments need to be received by December 14.

Next STW Board of Director’s Meeting:
Sitka Trail Works Board of Director’s meetings are open to STW members and the public.

When: Thursday, January 19th 12:00—1:30 PM

Where: Centennial Building

Meeting Agenda:

TBA
For more info, call the office at 747-7244.

Ft. Rousseau State Historical Park – Causeway

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• USE : Hike

DESCRIPTION : The causeway connects Japonski, Sasedni, Kirushkin, and Makhnait Islands. There are many beaches scattered along the route and beach-combing for shells is good here, but the probability of finding glass fishing floats is slim. There are underground bunkers that remain from WWII and they can be explored but use caution because they are very old. If you do plan on exploring these bunkers, use a good flashlight because within them, there are some sudden drop-offs.

DISTANCE : 1.5 miles one way

TIME : 2 – 3 hours to walk length of trail and explore historic structures and relics. Be sure to be there long enough for the tide to fall enough to access Makhnati Island.

TRAILHEAD : Options to access by kayak or boat at any of the “bights” along the length of the Causeway. Kayaks can be rented or local sea taxis will drop you off and pick you up. Whiting Harbor has an invasive sea organism, the tunicate D.vex (Didemnum Tunicate – Didemnum vexillum), so arriving by boat at high tide is recommended. The organism is found below the low tide line.

ELEVATION GAIN : The trail is level.

RECOMMENDED SEASON : Year-round, depending on sea conditions. The trip to the Causeway is difficult when it is windy.

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Easy.

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : Alaska State Parks ceased maintenance of the trail when Ranger position defunded due to budget cuts in 2015.

FEATURES

Located west of the Sitka airport runway, Fort Rousseau Causeway State Historical Park provides a unique opportunity for visitors to discover Sitka’s WWII history. Although there is no land access to the park, a short boat ride or kayak is worth the effort. Visitors to the park can explore numerous WWII features including ammunition magazines, lookouts, gun emplacements, and the headquarters command center. The park also offers great opportunities for picnicking and wildlife viewing. Fort Rousseau Causeway SHP is undeveloped.

Fort Rousseau is part of the Sitka Naval Operating Base and U.S. Army Coastal Defenses National Historic Landmark. In addition to National Historic Landmark status, the fort’s significance as the headquarters for the harbor defenses of Sitka during World War II also earned it designation as a State Historical Park in April 2008.

The developed gravel trail ends before the causeway to Makhnati Island. It is recommended to cross this causeway on a falling or low tide. It is impassible at medium to high tide so planning the timing for a crossing is important. The rocks are slippery and extreme care should be taken when crossing the causeway. The best WWII era features are found on Makhnati Island. See link to Matt Hunter’s SitkaWW2 website below for the best description.

OTHER SOURCES

http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspunits/southeast/ftrousseau.htm

http://www.sitkaww2.com/harbordefenses/harbordefenses.html 

Kruzoff Island ATV Trails

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USE : ATV, Bike and Hike

DESCRIPTION : Miles and miles of old logging road used for ATV, biking and hiking trails and beaches to explore crisscrossing this volcanic island.

DISTANCE : Varies

• TIME : 4 – 6 miles

TRAILHEAD : Mud Bay at Kruzof Island.

ELEVATION GAIN : 300 feet

• RECOMMENDED SEASON : Year-Round

• LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Easy to Difficult

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : US Forest Service


 

ACCESS

This road begins at Mud Bay, which is on the east coast of Kruzof Island and about 13 miles NW of Sitka by boat. The road begins on the north shore of the Bay, west of the cleared area. Kruzof Island road is closed to all vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 1,000 poinds or more. A mooring buoy is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

HISTORY

This trail, originally constructed as a logging road in the early 1970’s offers a good travel way across the island.

SPECIAL FEATURES

During snowy winters this road is good for cross-country skiing. Motorized vehicles are not permitted in iris meadows or off the roadway. Access to the Shelikof cabin (hike-in) and North Beach cabin (ATV use) is via this road.

DESCRIPTION

The intersections are confusing and not signed. It is suggested to carry a map and compass or GPS. The road follows the north side of Shelikof River The intersection for to the Shelikof Cabin turnoff at Iris Meadows about six miles across. After the Shelikof Cabin turnoff the road goes to the right, through Iris Meadow and up over a hill to the several miles to the North Beach cabin.

OTHER SOURCES:

http://www.alaska.org/detail/shelikof-cabin

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/shelikof-cabin/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=71863

http://www.alaska.org/detail/north-beach-cabin

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/north-beach-cabin/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=71876

Salmon/Redoubt Lakes

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• USE : Hike

DESCRIPTION : Trail is reached by boat at the head of Silver Bay with hike up Salmon-Redoubt Lake Trail. There is a mooring buoy/ anchorage at the trailhead.

DISTANCE : 2 miles one way

TIME : 1 -2 hours

TRAILHEAD : Trail head is on the left-hand side of the bay before entering the estuary narrows.

ELEVATION GAIN : Minimal.

RECOMMENDED SEASON : Spring – Fall

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Moderate

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : US Forest Service


 

ACCESS

The trailhead is located about 10 miles southeast of Sitka at the southwest end of Silver Bay. Access by sea taxi, boat or float plane.

SPECIAL FEATURES

There is good fishing in the Salmon Lake area and the head of Silver Bay. A recreation cabin is located on Salmon Lake about two miles from where the trail begins.

TRAIL DESCRIPTION

The trail begins on the east side of the mouth of Salmon Lake stream, the westernmost inlet stream at the head of Silver Bay. The trail is in Sitka Spruce, western hemlock and Alaska yellow cedar for the first three miles. An estuary is on the trail’s west side for the first quarter mile. The first mile hugs the eastern side of the valley, the follows the eastern shore of Salmon Lake to the cabin which may be reserved from the US Forest Service at recreation.gov.

The trail used to continue to Redoubt Lake cabin but the cabin was buried by a landslide in 2013. The trail still exists but it is rough and slippery. At about three miles the trail travels through a series of muskegs and meadows. There are trail forks in this area; stay on the main (southwestern) trail. During the next half mile the trail re-enters the forest and climbs 500 feet up a narrow saddle to the pass that separates the Salmon Lake drainage from the Redoubt drainage. The tread is rough, slippery and muddy. The pass is about a mile from Redoubt Lake but is impassible to the lake due to a landslide.

CAUTION

The Salmon Lake estuary has bears present much of the year.

OTHER SOURCES

http://www.alaska.org/detail/salmon-lake-redoubt-lake-trail

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/salmon-lake-cabin-sitka/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=71971

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tongass/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=79120&actid=50

 

Lake Eva Trail

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USE : Hike

DESCRIPTION : In Peril Strait – Hanus Bay. Nice scenic trail to the lake through old-growth along a pretty river. The cabin is on the opposite side of the lake and not reachable without a boat. Trail upgrades for accessibility and cabin replacement planned for 2011 and 2013.

DISTANCE : 1 3/4 mile to lake one-way The Lake Eva trail is 2.9 miles long. It begins at Hanus Bay and ends at the south end of Lake Eva. The trail is open for the following uses: Hiking

TIME :

ELEVATION GAIN :

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Moderate

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : US Forest Service

OTHER SOURCES:

http://www.alaska.org/detail/lake-eva-hanus-bay-trail

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/lake-eva-cabin/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=71862

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tongass/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=79026&actid=50

Sea Lion Cove Trail (Kruzoff Island)

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USE : Hike

DESCRIPTION : Remote trail on northern Kruzof Island. Boat or floatplane access. Spectacular old-growth forest, muskeg, and 2-mile long sandy beach on the open ocean. Stairs up & down hill between anchorage in Kalinin Bay and beach.

DISTANCE : 2.5 Miles (one way)

TIME : 1.0 – 2.0 Hours (one way)

TRAILHEAD : Begins in Kalinin Bay on the North side of Kruzof Island and ends at Sea Lion Cove on the outer coast

ELEVATION GAIN : 500 feet

RECOMMENDED SEASON : Summer – beware autumn storms

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Moderate. Slippery boardwalk and roots along most of the route.

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY: Alaska State Parks ceased maintenance of the trail when Ranger position defunded due to budget cuts in 2015.


 

ACCESS

Remotely located, approximately 1 1/2 hours by boat, north of Sitka on Kruzof Island. The trail begins on the shoreline of Kalinin Bay. Look for the diamond-shaped trailhead sign on the W shore at the beginning of the estuary. STW leads groups on this amazing trail every year with the help of Allen Marine’s great catamarans.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Boats can anchor in Kalinin Bay. Be sure to haul your skiff or kayak above the high tide mark and tie it to something strong. Don’t leave food or smelly items in your skiff or the bears may find it when you are away. Sea Lion Cove Trail is maintained by Alaska State Parks. The beach is known locally as a good surfing spot.

DESCRIPTION

The trail starts in the forest and crosses into muskegs. Pass by the first lake before re-entering beautiful old-growth forest. The trail then emerges onto a two-mile long sand beach in Sea Lion Cove, at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

CAUTIONS

The boardwalk trail is extremely slippery when wet – hiking poles are suggested. This is a remote trail with no cell phone coverage. Be sure to bring along your camera and a VHF radio; as well as the ten essentials on any hike in Alaska’s backcountry. There can be a lot of beach trash. Please pack out a little with you.

OTHER SOURCES:

http://www.alaska.org/detail/mt.-edgecumbe-trail 

http://alaska.ustrails.org/trails/Mt-Edgecumbe.html 

http://www.seatrails.org/com_sitka/trl-sealioncove.htm

Mt. Edgecumbe

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USE : Hike

DESCRIPTION : Accessible only by boat. Strenuous hike to the summit of the extinct volcano with several steep climbs. Elevation gain is 3,200 feet from the trail head to the top. Spectacular views from the top and impressive crater of the volcano.

DISTANCE : 6.7 Miles (one way)

TIME : 4-6 Hours (one way)

TRAILHEAD : New trail begins 50 yards from Fred’s Creek cabin and Ends at summit crater of Mt. Edgecumbe

ELEVATION GAIN : 3,200 feet

RECOMMENDED SEASON: Mid spring through fall

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Difficult. Muddy and wet in places. Last 3 miles steep climb. Last mile above tree line is extremely steep and on loose pumice. The route is marked with poles. Bears may be present.

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY: US Forest Service


 

ACCESS

The trailhead is about 50 yards from Fred’s Creek cabin on the southeastern shore of Kruzof Island, about 10 miles west of Sitka. Accessible by boat, roughly half an hour skiff ride from Sitka. Sea Taxis can be hired for drop off and pickup. Overnight accommodations available at the Fred’s Creek cabin if reserved in advance at recreation.gov.

HISTORY

This trail was constructed in the early 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps to provide recreational access to the summit of Mt. Edgecumbe, and recent upgrades have reduced the muddiness of the hike. Here’s a humorous account of Mt Edgecumbe’s last “eruption” caused by a notorious Sitkan on April Fools Day 1974.

SPECIAL FEATURES

This National Recreation Trail leads to the top of Mount Edgecumbe volcano, although the last portion is marked only by posts. The vista from the summit is spectacular on a clear day.

DESCRIPTION

The trail begins about 50 yards from Fred’s Creek cabin in the big spruce trees. It gradually rises while running through several miles of muskeg alternating with forest nearly due west. About four miles up the trail, at an elevation of 700 feet, a spur trail leads to a three-sided shelter.

The trail steepens considerably as it climbs the mountain’s flank. The timberline is reached at about 2,000 feet and the trail ends here. Above this, the ground is covered by red volcanic ash, pumice and fragile vegetation. To reach the crater rim, follow the white trail posts.

CAUTIONS

Weather can turn inclement even in the summer. The summit is almost always windy and clouds can blow in at any time and reduce visibility. Take a change of clothes and windproof garments so you can stay warm and enjoy the rim trail. On a sunny or “hot” summer day, be sure to bring enough water or a water purifier to refill water bottles. The streams dry up in the summer and are hard to find.

OTHER SOURCES:

http://www.summitpost.org/mount-edgecumbe-trail/429362

http://www.alaska.org/detail/mt.-edgecumbe-trail

http://alaska.ustrails.org/trails/Mt-Edgecumbe.html

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tongass/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=80291&actid=50

Mosquito Cove Trail

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• USE : Summer hiking with some winter use.

DESCRIPTION : The North Loop from Starrigavan Campground follows the beach & forest fringe to Mosquito Cove and loops back through forested hillside.

DISTANCE : 1.5 mile loop

TIME : 45 minutes – 1 hour

TRAILHEAD : Seven miles north of Sitka on Halibut Point Road and a 3/4 mile walk north of the ferry terminal.

ELEVATION GAIN : 100 feet elevation gain

RECOMMENDED SEASON : All Year Long

DIFFICULTY : Easier to moderate – some stairs and slippery surfaces with some mud. Uneven tread, and occasionally downed timber and rocks to step across.

Good to know before you go: Please park in the designated trail parking areas and not the Forest Service campground or along the road.

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : Alaska State Parks ceased maintenance of the trail when Ranger position defunded due to budget cuts in 2015.

FEATURES

Dogs must be on leash on the Forest Service section of this trail. A hiker could combine this with several other pleasant trails in the area including the Forest and Muskeg and the Estuary Life Trails.

Don’t forget your camera. This is a scenic little trail. Large trees, tide-pooling at Mosquito Cove, intimate little trail curves and bridges, birds and other wildlife make this a wonderful place.

NOTE

Brown bears are commonly seen, particularly on the coastal flats and are common late summer to late fall when the salmon are spawning, and this trail could be closed during high bear activity times for safety.

DESCRIPTION

This gravel trail includes both shoreline and forest ecosystems. Located at the north end of Halibut Point Road, within the Forest Service Picnic Area. The trail features several gentle climbs as well as scenic beach-walking. The Mosquito Cove Trail is part of the Old Sitka State Historic Site and is managed jointly by the USDA Forest Service and Alaska State Parks.

OTHER SOURCES:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tongass/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=79099&actid=50