GATHERING OF CULTURES – Dorothy Gordon holds year-old Marilyn De La Torre as they perform an entrance song Thursday at the B.J McGillis Gym during the annual Gathering of Cultures. A Tlingit dance group made up of several Sitka Tlingit dance groups opened the gathering. Mt. Edgecumbe High School’s student dance groups representing cultural groups from five regions of Alaska also performed. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Maine Ruling Roils Sitka Cruise Waters
01 Mar 2024 15:42

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Local advocates for a limit on cruise ship numbers sa [ ... ]

Fireweed Alumni Join in for Dance Gala
01 Mar 2024 15:40

Sentinel Staff Writer
    At Saturday’s annual Fireweed Dance Theatre Gala Pe [ ... ]

Young Barracudas Break Swim Club Records
01 Mar 2024 15:36

Sentinel Sports Editor
    Baranof Barracudas Swim Club members set new club rec [ ... ]

City League Volleyball Nailbiter
01 Mar 2024 15:30

By Sentinel Staff
    Thursday evening in City League volleyball gameplay, Yellow Jersey beat the  [ ... ]

Long Trail Advocates Seek Hike in Funding
01 Mar 2024 14:33

Alaska Beacon
    Trail advocates are asking legislators to appropriate more than $ [ ... ]

House Hands Senate Child Care Crisis Bill
01 Mar 2024 14:31

Alaska Beacon
    Most members of the House supported a bill that aims to expand [ ... ]

March 1, 2024, Local News
01 Mar 2024 14:09

Climate Connection – Sitka Housing and Climate
Housing costs in Sitka are a huge concern, worsened  [ ... ]

March 1, 2024, Police Blotter
01 Mar 2024 13:59

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:

February 29
At 10:24 a.m. a deaf dog and an [ ... ]

New Group Focuses On Cruise Ship Policy
29 Feb 2024 15:24

Sentinel Staff Writer
    A group advocating for better local control of cruise [ ... ]

Sitkans Ready Raunchy Revue for Stage
29 Feb 2024 15:23

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Ribald comedy with suggestive jokes and a sylvan theme [ ... ]

Bag Limit Changes Open for Comments
29 Feb 2024 15:20

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Senate Resources Committee will take public testi [ ... ]

Spring is Theme for Blatchley Concert Tonight
29 Feb 2024 15:19

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Blatchley Middle School music director is promisi [ ... ]

City League Volleyball Gameplay
29 Feb 2024 15:17

By Sentinel Staff
    In two sets, the SEARHC Slammers defeated the Beak Brunchers, Wednesday even [ ... ]

Lady Braves Beat Sitka in Pre-Tourney Game
29 Feb 2024 15:16

Sentinel Sports Editor
    Mt. Edgecumbe’s Lady Braves closed out the regular  [ ... ]

State School Board Has $500M Projects Listed
29 Feb 2024 15:08

Alaska Beacon
    The state’s Board of Education and Early Development approve [ ... ]

Fetus-Person Proposal Gets Strong Pushback
29 Feb 2024 15:07

Alaska Beacon
    An Alaska House member has proposed a bill that seeks to estab [ ... ]

February 29, 2024, Community Happenings
29 Feb 2024 13:16

Sitka APC Trust Open
For Grant Applications The Sitka Alaska Charitable Trust has announced that $92 [ ... ]

February 29, 2024, Police Blotter
29 Feb 2024 13:12

Police Blotter
Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
February 28
At 6:58 a.m. seve [ ... ]

Terminal Gets Boost With Airport Lease
28 Feb 2024 15:08

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved a 55-yea [ ... ]

School Official Says New Funds in Doubt
28 Feb 2024 14:48

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Sitka School District and other districts around  [ ... ]

Petitions for Wage, Voting Ballot Initiatives Sign...
28 Feb 2024 14:47

Alaska Beacon
    A pair of ballot measures have enough public support to appear on [ ... ]

Gov Threatens Veto Of School Funds Bill
28 Feb 2024 14:46

Alaska Beacon
    Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued an ultimatum  [ ... ]

Edgecumbe Earns Another Rivalry Victory
28 Feb 2024 14:45

Sentinel Sports Editor
    Propelled by a strong defense and accurate shooting i [ ... ]

Volleyball Scores
28 Feb 2024 14:39

By Sentinel Staff
    The Queen Bees overcame Ludvig’s Lancers 2-0 in their competitive division [ ... ]

Other Articles

Daily Sitka Sentinel

January 20, 2023, Community Happenings

Climate Connection: Is Increasing Tourism Sustainable?

As our community embarks on a sustainability journey with a new Sustainability Commission and Coordinator, we think about what sustainability means. To some, it may mean preserving our current way of life going forward. To others, it means surviving climate catastrophes and accompanying economic chaos, mass migration, and decreased food production. Others may be more focused on preserving health and equitable wellbeing while lessening consumption and our dependence on fossil fuels as we try to mitigate global temperature increases to protect the earth for future generations. Despite differing views of what sustainability means, we likely agree that we are in unprecedented times of change.

Our community is facing choices with respect to a major economic driver in Sitka – tourism. In the pre-pandemic decade, Sitka had 152,000 average annual cruise ship visitors, with only three years topping 200,000. Citizens voted twice to not develop a public deep-water dock in town for cruise ships. The 2022 cruise ship passengers numbered 383,000 and are estimated at 510,000 or more on 220 ship calls in 2023. On the one hand, increased sales tax and head tax revenues, increased seasonal employment, and income for businesses catering to tourists are advantages. On the other hand, community desirability in 2022 suffered with pedestrian and traffic congestion, telecommunication insufficiency, diesel air pollution, housing shortages, and local access to businesses and recreation. Many see urgency in “right-sizing” cruise ship numbers before our economy is dependent on tourism, with possible replacement of local business by outside commercial entities better able to bid up downtown real estate prices. Three major cruise ship corporations visiting Sitka each lost more than half of their 2018 stock value, with two losing three-quarters or more, despite the return of bookings post-pandemic. With current inflation and recession worries looming, is pinning our community’s future on increasing cruise tourism wise? 

The three pillars of sustainability are economy (profit), society (people), and environment (planet). In Sitka’s situation, money (profit) seems opposed to quality of life (people) and pollution (environment). Pollution stems from tourist land and marine transport and biofouling of hulls from the cruise liners which travel the world before docking in Sitka. Three of the cruise ships visiting Sitka this summer have been denied docking in Australia and New Zealand this winter because of biofouling. Equitable distribution of tourism profit and advantages is far from assured for Sitka residents.  

Unlimited economic growth is not sustainable at a time when we need to strengthen our local circular economy and decrease our community contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. The wellbeing of people and planet must be weighed against money interests in our changing world. We can limit tourist numbers downtown and on our waters. In Bar Harbor, Maine, citizens overcame their city assembly’s reluctance to limit tourist numbers in the last election. What do we want for a sustainable Sitka, and how do we best use our voices to get there?

Kay Kreiss, Transition Sitka


Ocean Wave

Quilters Meet

Ocean Wave Quilters will meet 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, at United Methodist Church.

Monthly meetings, September through June, are open to all, members or not. Those wishing to pay the $25 dues receive a monthly newsletter, discounts on classes and other benefits.

For more information call President Sarah Jordan at 907-738-7272.


Open Sewing

Session Feb. 11

Ocean Wave Quilters will sponsor an open sewing session 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at United Methodist Church.

All are invited to attend. Irons, ironing boards, tables and chairs are provided. Lunch is a potluck. For information call Linda Swanson at 907-747-3471.


Service, Meeting

At St. Peter’s

St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church will hold one service, at 10 a.m., on Jan. 22, in person and with a Zoom option.

The annual meeting and a potluck will be held in the See House after the service. All are welcome. For more info,  send an email to or call (907) 747-3977 and leave a message for a call back. The church is located at 611 Lincoln Street, and is open every day to stop in for a time of quiet, prayer and rest.

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At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

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 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

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

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






March 2004

Photo caption: Fire engines and ambulances shine in the sun outside the new fire hall Saturday during an open house. Hundreds turned out to look over the $4 million facility, which is twice the size of the building it replaced. It features a state-of-the-art exhaust system and much larger offices and a large training room.


March 1974

The Sheldon Jackson Museum will have a special showing of replicas of ancient Tlingit hunting weapons. The replicas were made by A. P. Johnson, a Tlingit  culture instructor and metal arts teacher at SJC.


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