HONORED – Crew members pose with Rear Adm. Nathan A. Moore, commander, Coast Guard 17th District, after being presented Air Medals at Air Station Sitka, May 7. The aircrew received medals in recognition of the heroic actions taken to save the life of a fisherman adrift at sea Nov. 1, 2020. The Air Medal is awarded to individuals serving with the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement in aerial flight. Pictured are, from left, Brian McLaughlin, Justin Neal, Jon Orthman, Grant Roberts, Jimmy Schwader and Moore (Photo provided by U.S. Coast Guard)

Volunteers Take Action, Build Bike Trail

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer

Sitka’s new single-track mountain bike trail is about halfway done, and on target to open by early June.

“It’s beautiful, number one,” said Amy Volz, project leader in the all-volunteer trail building project.

“It’s not too hard in difficulty, in terms of uphill or downhill,” she added. “The turns are maybe a little tighter than someone who may be used to a flowing trail down south. So it’s a little more challenging than just a straight path.”

Bike enthusiast Doug Osborne, who also has worked on the project, agrees.

“I think it will be fun, and not so technical that it will be prohibitive for riders of different levels,” Osborne told the Sentinel.

Osborne noted that Sitka had a single-track bike trail in the last decade, out Sawmill Creek Road near the Gary Paxton Industrial Park, but that trail is long overgrown and unused. Once completed, the new trail will be the only one of its kind in Sitka.

While there are other, informal mountain bike trails in the area, the new trail will be the only one with formal approval from the City of Sitka.

Volz, who said she got into mountain biking about ten years ago in Oregon, described city approval and support of the project as “incredibly meaningful.” 

“What it says is that the city has an interest in expanding the uses of their property,” she said. “And a lot of it started in that area with the Cross Trail.”

Calder Prussian, 12, rides down a section of newly completed bike trail off the Cross Trail this afternoon. 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. Sitka’s new single-track mountain bike trail is about halfway done (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

While the city gave a green light on the project, the new trail has not received any public funding.

The new trail is a loop that begins and ends on the Cross Trail, immediately west of the Pherson Street Connector. The trail will be called ‘907,’ for its length in feet, as well as the Alaskan phone area code.

“It’s a really grass roots effort,” Osborne said. The new trail is under construction by volunteer labor. Volz estimated that roughly 50 working hours have gone into the project so far.

“We’ve only been working on it for perhaps a month . . . We’ve had a number of five- to seven-person volunteer days going on now,” Volz said.

One of those volunteers is Sitka High School junior Kobi Weiland.

“This has been a dream for a lot of people,” he said. Weiland first mountain biked in Haines when he was eight years old.

For the current project, he said, most of the work was simply moving gravel from the storage spot on the Cross Trail into the woods where the new bike trail is flagged.

“We’ve been clearing a path and putting gravel on it… Most of it is just moving gravel, that’s most of the work,” he said.

He added that he’s “hoping it makes other people happy, and gets more high school students outdoors.”

Other mountain biking trails are planned in the area, and Weiland said he looks forward to working and biking on them as well.

Volz added that due to restrictions on larger groups of people during the pandemic, she and her volunteers have taken measures to ensure their health.

“It’s a very coordinated effort in these COVID times to minimize the number of people... I tell people to bring masks and wear them and have them working at either end of the trail,” she said.

Anyone interested in volunteering on the trail project should send an email to amy.volz@outlook.com.

“It’s inspiring to work in these times, when it’s so hard to be able to predict the future or know where we’ll be a month from now, that we are building the first trail of many trails,” Volz said. “It’s a long term vision and it’s great to be a part of that type of vision and doing right now.”

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August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:

 

On March 30, 2020, the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 5-11-21)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:15 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 58

Total statewide – 66,407

Total (cumulative) deaths – 345

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,519

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Monday.

Active cases in Sitka – 6

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 369 (323 resident; 46 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 362

Deceased (cumulative) – 1

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

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Sitka Vax Stats 

The State of Alaska DHSS reported Tuesday the following statistics on vaccinations for Sitka.

Partially vaccinated – 4,894 (70.43%)

Fully vaccinated – 4,502 (64.79%)

Total population (16+) –6,949

Sitka has vaccinated (with at least one dose) 1,243 (84.1%) of its senior population (1,478 total), age 65 and older. 

Vaccination data for the City and Borough of Sitka can be found online at: https://bit.ly/3apStpb

 

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20 YEARS AGO
May 2001

Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau is seeking volunteers to staff its information desks. Those interested in meeting thousands of visitors from all over the world are invited to contact Sandy or Michelle at SCVB.

50 YEARS AGO
May 1971

Sitka Police: Lorna Ann Sollars was cited for passing a stop sign. Gary Kuhnle was cited for passing a stop sign. Thomas Allen Sanford was cited for having an out-of-state license for more than 90 days.

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