The Sitka Trail Works Board of Directors, staff and membership is dedicated to working efficiently and supportively with our partners to create, maintain and promote a beautiful, diversified, and accessible trail system, as our gift to future generations. These trails will provide a wide range of opportunities for physical activity, economic development, cultural enrichment, and spiritual renewal.
We recognize that we are on Tlingít – Aaní.
Aaní is the Tlingit word for land and Tlingit people have been in this place for over 10,000 years. It’s very important to recognize this historical fact and to appreciate that the Tlingit people have been excellent stewards and have lived out the traditional tribal values around balance, respect, and caring for the Earth that sustains us all. So for taking wonderful care of this special place for time immemorial we say thank you and gunalchéesh.
Get to Know Our Board Members:
Learn a little bit about our current Sitka Trail Works, Inc. Board Members and Employees.
A Brief History of Sitka Trail Works, Inc.
Sitka Trail Works, Inc. was incorporated in 1997, just after Alaska Pulp Company’s closure, to re-train and employ displaced mill workers. Six miles of community trail was built using Congressional funding dedicated to revitalizing Sitka’s economy. Trail Works was an important safety net for these displaced workers, employing them so they remained in the community and re-trained for more skilled, long term employment. Founding board member Lisa Busch was recognized with a national award and highlighted in this video about the origins of Trail Works.
In 1999 the timber relief funds ended and the Sitka Trail Works Board of Directors reorganized under a new business model that emphasized a wider range of services to the community including planning and funding a new trail system, advocating for healthier lifestyles involving physical exercise and coordinating volunteer and paid laborers for trail maintenance and construction.
STW is achieving its mission through a combination of great leadership provided by the Board and Executive Director and through the strong community partnerships that forged during the creation of the 2003 Sitka Trail Plan. The plan also included the partner Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Alaska State Parks, US Forest Service, National Park Service, Sitka Tribe, City and Borough of Sitka and Sitka Trail Works. The trail plan with the signed MOU was published by STW after 3 years of community dialogue and public input.Sitka Trail Plan
The trail plan lists trail projects around the Sitka area. Many of the Trail Plan projects have been accomplished and a revision of the Trail Plan Memorandum of Understanding between partners to extend the plan until 2021 is underway.
STW concentrates it efforts in the Sitka area of Southeast Alaska on projects located on Baranof, Kruzof and Chichagof Islands. The 9,000 residents of Sitka are the most immediate beneficiaries of STW services. The trail system is also a visitor attraction and destination for the 120,000 annual cruise ships visitors and other independent travelers.
Sitka Trail Works provides many services to the community. From May to August the organization publishes a calendar of activities and sponsors free guided hikes and volunteer trail maintenance work days. Sitka Trail Works assists with seasonal trail maintenance projects and repairs. When construction funds are available we employ a trail construction crew for larger scale trail reconstruction projects. Recent projects include the completion of the Sawmill Cove Loop trail system which is now composed of the Thimbleberry, Herring Cove and Beaver Lake Trails and they are all joined by Blue Lake Road and the new pathway along Silver Bay on Sawmill Creek road. Work on the Cross trail multiuse pathway is ongoing. The upgrade of the trail from Gavan Hill to Yaw Drive and to Baranof Street for cyclists was finished in 2015. Older projects include the Sea Lion Cove Trail: 2.5 miles trail reconstruction; The Path of Hope: 1,000 ft park walkways; The Baranof Lake Trail: 600 ft elevated boardwalks, Herring Cove, Mosquito Cove and Verstovia trails maintenance and repairs.
The work we do
The talents and energies of the Sitka Trail Works Board of Directors and staff are dedicated to accomplishing the following work related to our mission.
- Develop and build the trails in the 2003 Sitka Trail Plan.
- Support our trail plan partners, the City and Borough of Sitka, USDA Forest Service Sitka Ranger District, National Park Service and Sitka Tribe of Alaska in implementing projects in the 2003 Trail Plan; through the MOU process, and through working collaboratively whenever possible.
- Involve and empower our membership to be advocates for trails, to participate as donors, as volunteers, and as hikers.
- Sponsor hikes and events that expose more users to the benefits of trails and create new opportunities for outdoor family recreation.
- Foster community partnerships with health care providers, schools and youth groups in order to create healthier lifestyles and increase physical activity.
- Perform trail maintenance and small scale trail construction whenever needed or made possible by available funding.
- Promote the use and appreciation of trails through development and distribution of information.
- Employ Alaskan and residents of Sitka first, giving particular emphasis to developing trail maintenance skills within the community and among youth.
- Purchase all trail materials and services locally to the greatest extent possible.
- Help diversify Sitka’s economy through the creation of new recreation infrastructure.