SITKA TRAIL WORKS PRESS RELEASE
For Release on Friday, April 8th, 2022
Sitka Trail Works seeks community input on future of trails
A new trail plan is under development, built by and for Sitkans
Access to the amazing natural beauty that surrounds our community is a cornerstone of quality of life in Sitka. Being active outdoors keeps Sitkans healthy and happy, which is why it’s vital to maintain and improve public trails.
For the last twenty years, Sitka Trail Works has invested in the maintenance and expansion of our local trail network. The success of partnerships with public land managers including the City of Sitka, State Parks, the US Forest Service, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and the National Park Service, is due in large part to 2003 Sitka Trail Plan. The original Trail Plan guided the construction of the Herring Cove Trail, the Thimbleberry to Heart Lake Trail, and the entire Cross Trail network. Many of the outdoor destinations that Sitkans cherish today exist thanks to that first Trail Plan.
It’s time for a new vision. Having accomplished many of the original objectives, Sitka Trail Works is excited to launch the 2022 Sitka Trail Planning process. Collectively agreeing on our next priorities and advancing projects to shovel ready status will help Sitka compete for state and federal infrastructure funding. With this new plan guiding the way, we envision an even more robust trail system that supports the physical, mental, spiritual, and cultural vibrancy for future generations.
All Sitkans are invited to be a part of shaping the future of our trails. To start, Sitka Trail Works is widely distributing a public survey to gather information about current uses, challenges, and opportunities for our trail system. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 cash prize.
In addition to circulating the survey, we will be connecting directly with various community groups for more in-depth discussions. After an initial round of extensive public engagement, Sitka Trail Works and partners will assess trail concept feasibility, identify shared priorities, and assemble an initial list of new trail project ideas. This draft list will be distributed to the public for another round of review and feedback. Only after a thorough vetting and approval by all public land managers will the new plan be formalized.
The goals of this planning process are to:
- Make it easier and more inviting to be active and healthy outside;
- Be good stewards of our spectacular cultural and natural landscape;
- Help build a stronger, more durable local economy;
- Provide diverse, equitable access to the outdoors;
- Work within our means and by working together, increase our means!
The success of our community’s trail system depends on the collaboration of a wide range of organizations and individuals. Here’s what our partners have to say about Sitka’s Trails:
- “Alaska’s outdoor opportunities, particularly our trail systems, are second to none. I’ve been proud to partner with groups like Sitka Trail Works to help expand, maintain, and keep our state’s trails safe for all who wish to enjoy them, and look forward to that continuing under our bipartisan infrastructure law,” Senator Murkowski said. “The funding I secured through this historic legislation will help Alaska communities like Sitka restore and develop essential infrastructure that supports healthy and strong economies and improves the quality of life through recreational opportunities.
- “Tlingit people have walked in these forests and paddled these waters since time immemorial, and we know that a connection to nature is vital to physical, mental, and spiritual health. We look forward to working with Sitka Trail Works and our public land management partners to craft a vision for how trails can help people hunt, gather, and bring their families outdoors on our traditional territory for generations to come.” – Woody Widmark, Tribal Chairman, Sitka Tribe of Alaska.
- “The National Park Service was an integral partner during the development of the ambitious 2003 Sitka Trail Plan. Now we are excited that Sitka Trail Works and the many Sitka trail partners will be engaging in a next era of community based trail planning. Sitka National Historical Park’s trails are one of our most loved and well used features so we are eager to explore ways we can support this community initiative, better connect, and improve access to the recreation experience and solace trails provide.” – Mary Miller, Superintendent of Sitka National Historical Park
- “Playing in the woods was a huge part of my childhood in Sitka. Thanks to the dogged efforts of Sitka Trail Works over the years, many families can get outdoors with a trail in their neighborhood. This planning process will help more young and old Sitkans reap the tremendous benefits of time spent in Sitka’s wet and wonderful shared backyard.” – Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins
- “Sitka’s trail system on our public lands and the temperate rainforest around Sitka is absolutely unique and part of what makes Sitka such an amazing place. Those trails are the result of community planning and collaboration that was thought out decades ahead. The original plan has largely been completed and this planning process gives us a chance to look out ahead at what our next suite of trail creation could be.” – Andrew Thoms, Executive Director, Sitka Conservation Society
- “Outdoor recreation not only benefits our community but also our visitors. We’re excited for this process to enhance how we can share our way of life and our connection to the forest in a safe and accessible way.” – Rachel Roy, Executive Director, Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce | Visit Sitka
- “Sitka Trail Works, through its work with a diverse group of partners and agencies, built a model for the creation of an incredible public trail resource other Southeast communities can emulate. The Tongass National Forest is a proud partner in these efforts and hopes to share the insights and successes of our collaboration with other communities in Alaska. Through this type of work, we can bolster and demonstrate the social, economic and ecological benefits of accessible public lands.” – Jason Anderson, Staff Officer for Recreation, Minerals, Lands & Heritage, Tongass National Forest, US Forest Service
- “Trails are critical infrastructure, used by Sitkans every day of the year to walk, bike, sightsee, and enjoy the outdoors greatly improving our standard of living. As I have in the past, I will continue to support projects, like the Sawmill Creek Road Separated Pathway and the Sea Walk, and in our State Parks, like Mosquito Cove and Halibut Point Rec, that support community health and the visitor economy. I appreciate Sitka Trail Works’ efforts to compile Sitkans’ shared priorities for future infrastructure needs.” – AK Senator Bert Stedman
- “Sitka’s trails are one of the shining jewels of our town and I’m very excited that Sitka Trail Works is stepping up to prepare a trail plan for the next generation. I’m anxious to see what this new era brings.” – Mayor Steven Eisenbeiz
- “At Waypoint for Veterans, we know that time in nature provides relaxation and personal growth for people who serve our country. Sitka Trail Works’ mission provides us a variety of well-maintained trails that allows Waypoint to customize trips for small and large groups of different physical abilities. We are grateful to be partnering with Sitka Trail Works’ as a way to reinforce our mission of offering healing through nature.” – Lucas Goddard, Executive Director, Waypoint for Veterans
- “We partner with organizations like Sitka Trail Works to promote active lifestyles and a healthy balance of mind, body, and spirit,” said SEARHC President and CEO Charles Clement. “Sitka’s growing trail system provides access to the bounty and beauty of Alaska throughout the community.”
For more information, please contact:
Sitka Trail Works, Inc