Sitka Rendezvous

February 27, 2019

Question 1: ORec Current Conditions

  • Great Access, water and land – year-round

  • Many have only road – based access

  • Some trails undeveloped

    • Difficult to finish

    • Lots of routes but many undeveloped

  • No Single Track, technical Mtn., bike trails

  • Hard to find others to do rock climbing, single track, non-maintained trail.

  • Lack of snow

  • Diversity of trail & other or Rec.

  • Keep unmaintained trails use low

Question 2: 10 Yrs. Down the road

  • Generational viability of small ORec. Business

    • Support niche opportunity

  • Increase Land/Road Based Rec/

    • Via Katlian Bay Rd

  • Expand Dive Program

  • Local Control of Downtown shops

  • Year-round business

    • Sea Kayak, Dive Shops

    • Guided Kayak has high liability

      • Whittier does have kayak

      • Whittier does have sea taxis

Question : do we have enough business - do we want more year-round?

  • Education Input

    • SSSC great job w/education

    • Brings folks to town

    • Econ Benefit to bike shop from Fine Arts Camp

  • High / Low Quality Volume (cruise) not enough independent cruise operators

– small cruise try to spread out but still some conflicts. Balance use

  • “Rural status” is key.  We are borderline Population Based & Road based

  • Whale Fest – More Festivals

  • Whale watching is big among cruise ship passengers from Juneau

  • Decline in winter business & Business to shoulder season

  • E-Commerce a problem

  • $ Water town/Less money Land based

  • Better Alpine Access

  • Harbor Mtn – Ski trail/snowboard could be developed

    • Verstovia – Telemark/Snowboard

  • Cabin @ Verstovia w/lockers

  • Mtn. Biking

  • Diversity (?) Equity

  • Winter / year-round

  • Retain local character

  • More opportunities for Mtn biking

    • Trails

    • Off Kruzoff Island & road connected (Indian River?) with maps & road rules

  • Biking representation on local boards, STW, Parks & Rec. (infiltrate), USFS, youth groups

  • Explore “fat tire” bike possibilities “Cross Sitka” bike route

    • Race or tours

Break out Topic: Year-Round Recreation

  • Festivals – off season

  • Destination – expand Jazz Fest

  • Year-Round, road-based tours

  • Diving opportunity in winter

  • Education -Science Center

-Boating/Fishing

-Outer Coast

  • Action Items

  • Partner with other businesses to extend stays

  • “Promote the extra day” – use discounts

  • Promote Indigenous Language – Education opportunities (Indo Pacific)

Break-out Topic: Local Character

  1. How will environmental/Climate Change affect tourism and local character?

    1. Business strategy & plans opps & threat

    2. Focus on independent tourism (Chris McGraw Private & City)

    1. Plan is @ comfort levels w/cruise ships

      1. Ferry Service

      2. Still ensure enough tourism to achieve economic benefit

  2. Identify steps/protocol to support collaborative, shared enjoyment of resources between locals and tourism.

    1. Interactive resource management

    2. Market to young tourists

    3. Access in high season so locals still enjoy

Breakout Topic: Diversity, Inclusion, Equity

  1. Developing infrastructure for independent travelers

  2. Connecting organizations who are already working with groups in town to include one another - strengthen/networking

  3. Developing community psych-energy to include others in OD adventures, not just love wolf attitudes

  4. Develop Recreation Plans to include all groups – motorized, non-motorized, tribal, tourist, local, etc.

  5. Outreach being intentional to reach all community members

INDIVIDUAL Priorities (3 cards)

  • Sarbonne of the Pacific – Christina

  • Tour package year-round

  • How to improve outdoor rec. in Sitka

  • Indian River multipurpose trail network

    • More opportunities for Mtn biking, specific:

      • MTB/Ski/Snowshoe trails

      • Ask Sitka trail works to add a MTB seat on their Board

      • Designated bike route across Sitka, Races, tours

      • Fat-tire bike possibilities

      • (?) Is Mt. Biking network and map; youth MTB opportunities

      • ID opportunities to influence forest service management and planning

  • More outdoor rec. opps for variety of abilities (including kids)

  • Some sort of very organized outdoor club that could organize activities like big (overnight) kayak trips.

  • A healthy, cohesive, local community of recreators that live and play here…. A net work/group/Ambassodors?

  • Diversity and Inclusion; Equity in the Voices at the Table; People should feel safe, able, and welcome

  • Better ocean access for visitors

  • A full-service dive shop in Sitka

  • Sustained funding for State Marine Parks and Cabins/Docks

  • Our water and rainforest access is not for beginners.  Tides/currents/outer coast weather requires skills and training.  Off-trail hiking is very technical due to steep terrain and orientation.

  • Fish friendly development; fish habitat protections; Salmon 4 ever

  • We have mild weather compared to the rest of Alaska! We can support year-round opportunities.

  • Road-based cabin rental opportunities on Federal land.

  • More year-round opportunity; multi-purpose use trail (i.e., summer – mtn bike trail/winter – cross country ski trail)

  • Ski Trails

  • Good trails, maintain trails.

  • Outfitter/guides looking for more developed trails between Juneau & Sitka (multi-day boat trips)

  • A trail that is long enough to have hut to hut shelters

  • Access to the alpine

  • 1) Go kayaking more, always; 2) Access to outdoor learning opportunities; 3) Presentation of nature to emphasize preservation of nature

  • Preservation of Nature; Access for more

  • We need to improve public access through communal methods – like the ferry to a beach for the day; also for Sitkans and not just for tourists

  • University gear rental; Classes for outdoor Rec.; bike maintenance; basic kayaking; etc.

  • Better gear rental/outfitting

  • Longer hiking in town (multiday?)

  • Multi-day hiking, kayaking, routes established

  • Multi-day trip routes (difficult since longest trail is 7 miles.

  • More independent travels; more out rec enthusiasts, vs charter and cruise ships.

  • 1) More independent tourism @ lower cost; 2) gear rental – access

  • Have businesses that support outdoor activities: boat rental; kayak gear rental

  • Repair the State/Federal nexus for RTP grants for trail maintenance

  • Water Access/Boat Ramps

  • Old growth forest/intact ecosystem

  • How are we going to address CLIMATE CHANGE? It will change the face of Sitka.  Need a comprehensive strategy/plan

  • Costs need to come down.

  • Balance Economic Engine which will create a Disney Land environment for locals.  Against quality of experience for locals.

  • Wilderness and places of solitude

  • Sustainable Mountain bike trails

  • Biking single-track trails

  • Mountain biking off-road trails

  • A single-track, bike trail

  • I swear there’s a bunch of us singletrack; Perhaps Indian River? Single Track; Harbor Mtn. Development: Single track? MTB; Mt. Bike Single Track, e.g., Indian River Trail

  • Mountain biking is a huge unexplored niche.  Also base jumping.