CHECKING THE SLOPES – Ski companions Aaron Prussian, Emily Clark and Will Sirokman measure the snow depth and conditions on Mt. Verstovia Saturday. The friends have been tracking conditions this season, looking for weaknesses in the snowpack that could lead to avalanches. They saw signs of stable conditions, some hardpack and compacted layers, but no signs of weakness in that specific area. Dozens of skiers were on the mountain this weekend. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Team Repairs Goddard Water Supply

Sentinel Staff Writer

After weeks of work, a team led by the Sitka Conservation Society has repaired and renovated the cold water storage pond at Goddard Hot Springs, SCS announced Monday. 

The Goddard renovation was one of eight projects in the works, SCS Community Conservation Corps program director Ben Hughey told the Sentinel. He noted that SCS didn’t act alone, and that it received help from a number of Sitkans.

“For Goddard there were a number of things that needed work. We were in coordination with landscape architect Barth Hamburg, Rotary, and engineers Dan Jones and Dean Orbison,” Hughey said. “These people are passionate about the place and have volunteered a bunch of their time over the years.”

Historically, the Sitka Rotary Club has helped with hot tub maintenance at Goddard.

“Goddard is a good asset. I have always enjoyed helping the Rotary Club with annual maintenance,” Dean Orbison said. “I’m happy to help SCS with the major improvements.”

Dan Jones said that Rotary has been involved in maintaining Goddard for about half a century.

“Basically Rotary has been involved at Goddard since the early ‘70s,” Jones said

He noted that the restoration of the cold water system was quite important for temperature regulation in the summer.

“The work on the cold water is pretty important because Goddard often runs out of cold water in the summertime,” he said. Jones hoped for additional work at Goddard in the spring, and mentioned a possible project to install subterranean water pipes.

Erik de Jong and Greta Healy work on a cold water dam near Goddard Hot Springs recently. In November, several crews cleared sediment and underbrush to increase water capacity of the pond. (Photo provided by Ben Hughey)

The engineer appreciated the help from SCS as well.

“We just like the chance to help, and always applaud when someone else comes up with some money and some time,” Jones said.

The conservation society envisions additional work in the area as well, ranging from an improved outhouse to a trail network along the rugged outer coastline.

“For the Sitka Conservation Society, I think (Goddard) is an asset that is so treasured by the community. It’s such a special place and it’s potentially a draw to our town, and something that could support a different type of tourist economy – especially if we were to build out this proposed trail and anchorage at Goddard,” he said.

While some long-term plans are afoot, the recently completed project was on a smaller scale. The team rebuilt the cold water pond that feeds cool water into the tubs at the hot springs.

“The existing cold water storage facility is up the hill for gravity reasons, and this dam was built over 30 years ago – that was the last time it was rebuilt,” Hughey said. The new dam for the cold water pond is made of timber. The pond itself is lined to prevent water pressure from forcing flow beneath the dam. Over the course of November, several crews roughly tripled the water capacity of the pond by building the new timber dam, clearing out sediment, and removing underbrush. The project got underway on October 25, Hughey said, and concluded on November 29, though he added that a team will continue to conduct function checks in the coming weeks.

He credited Barth, Orbison, and Jones with the design of the new dam, and Erik de Jong with on-site construction help. Hughey said de Jong is a naval engineer by training, and his help was essential to the project.

“Erik deserves extra commendation for his dedication to the project. We hired him but he brought the full resources of his arctic expedition sailboat. He owns a 52-foot steel sailboat (the Dutch-flagged Bagheera) that he used to transport all materials and crew there all these times,” Hughey said.  “We really wouldn’t have been able to do it without his big personal investment… Having him and his whole personal tool chest there made the whole thing possible.”

Over the full month of work, which involved three separate trips to Goddard, Hughey said more than 200 hours of work went into the project, along with $21,000 of CARES Act federal funding distributed by the city, as well as roughly $10,000 worth of volunteer time and resources. The additional support came from a range of sources including the Rotary Club and CBC Construction.

“That shows the immense community demand and support for this project,” Hughey said.

He noted that at the moment the city itself doesn’t have the resources to do this type of maintenance at Goddard.

“Primarily it’s just a spot so loved by so many people in town and we don’t currently have the resources in city government to maintain it to the level that it needed to be,” he said.

Looking forward, Hughey said SCS plans to continue the conservation corps’ work with the remaining CARES funding.

“Right now we’re building a small footpath to provide pedestrians access from Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary to the Kimsham Ballfields,” he said. Crews have also worked to install mile markers on the Cross Trail, build a mountain bike trail behind Sitka High School, and clear slide debris from the Beaver Lake trail, he said.

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August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 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 1-26-21)

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 12:20 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 86

Total statewide – 51,778

Total (cumulative) deaths – 258

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,170

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 – 1

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 309 (277 resident; 32 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 308

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




January 2001

Rory Schneeberger of Sitka has been tapped to serve as state Rep. Peggy Wilson’s chief of staff, the District 2 representative announced today. Wilson, of Wrangell, was elected in November to represent Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan in the state House.

January 1971

Eleven Sheldon Jackson students will visit churches in the northern half of Southeast Alaska as part of a four-week interim study course called Contemporary Alaska Mission. Their instructor, Rev. William Zeiger, who is college chaplain, has arranged the course.