Sitka Conservation Society

About Andis

Adam Andis, Wilderness Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator, spends the summer traipsing in the Tongass for the Community Wilderness Stewardship Project. During the winter he engages the community in all things SCS. He has a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Northland College, is an ACA Kayak instructor, Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Master Educator, Director of the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, and a wicked crossword puzzler.

Feb 05 2014

Seeking Summer Wilderness Intern

The Sitka Conservation Society is seeking an applicant to support the Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project. The Wilderness Intern will assist SCS’s Wilderness Project manager to coordinate and lead monitoring expeditions during the 2014 summer field season.

If interested, please review the position description below and submit a resume and cover letter to Adam Andis at


Position Title: SCS Wilderness Project Internship


Host Organizations: Sitka Conservation Society

Location: Sitka, Alaska

Duration: 14 weeks, starting in May 2014. Specific start and end dates to be determined by intern and SCS

Compensation: $ 4664 plus travel

Benefits: Intern will receive no health or dental benefits. Intern is responsible for housing. SCS will provide appropriate training for fieldwork in Southeast Alaska.

Organization: The Sitka Conservation Society (SCS) is a grassroots, membership-based organization dedicated to the conservation of the Tongass Temperate Rainforest and the protection of Sitka’s quality of life. We have been active in Sitka, Alaska for over 45 years as a dynamic and concerned group of citizens who have an invested interest in their surrounding natural environment and the future well-being of their community. We are based in the small coastal town of Sitka, Alaska, located on the rugged outer west coast of Baranof Island. Surrounded by the towering trees of the Tongass National Rainforest, the community has successfully transformed from an industrial past and the closure of a local pulp mill to a new economy featuring a diversity of employers and small businesses.

Background: The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is the nation’s largest National Forest totaling 17 million acres with almost 6 million acres of designated Wilderness Area (also the largest total Wilderness area of any National Forest). The Sitka Ranger District alone encompasses over 1.6 million acres of countless islands, glaciated peaks and old growth forests. In 2009, SCS partnered with the Sitka Ranger District (SRD) to ensure the two Wilderness areas near Sitka (the West Chichagof Yakobi and South Baranof Wilderness Areas) meet a minimum management standard by conducting stewardship and monitoring activities and recruiting volunteers. We will be continuing this project into its fifth year and extending the project to ranger districts throughout the Tongass National Forest.



Direction and Purpose:

In this position you will be expected to assist in organizing the logistics of field trips. Trips can range from just a few nights to three weeks. Backcountry field logistics include float plane and boat transport to and from field sites; kayaking, backpacking, and packrafting on location; camping and living in bear country; field communications via satellite phone, VHF radio, and SPOT transmitters. You will be co-leading trips with SCS Staff. Depending on experience, you may have the opportunity to lead short trips of volunteers on your own.

Working with SCS Staff, this intern position will assist in the following duties:

  • ·collection of field data
  • ·coordinating logistics and volunteers for field surveys
  • ·plan and conduct outreach activities including preparing presentation and sharing materials on Wilderness and Leave No Trace with outfitters/guides and other Forest users.
  • prepare and submit an intern summary report and portfolio of all produced materials, and other compiled outputs to the Forest Service and SCS before conclusion of the residency, including digital photos of your work experience and recreational activities in Alaska. Reports are crucial means for SCS to report on the project’s success.


  • ·Graduate or currently enrolled in Recreation Management, Outdoor Education, Environmental Studies or other related environmental field
  • ·Current Wilderness First Responder certification (by start date of position)
  • ·Outdoor skills including Leave-no-Trace camping, multi-day backpacking
  • Sea kayaking skills and experience
  • ·Ability to work in a team while also independently problem-solve in sometimes difficult field conditions.
  • ·Ability to communicate effectively and present issues to the lay-public in a way that is educational, inspirational, and lasting

The ideal candidate will also have:

  • ·Experience living or working in Southeast Alaska
  • ·Pertinent work experience
  • ·Outdoor leadership experience such as NOLS or Outward Bound
  • ·Ability to work under challenging field conditions that require flexibility and a positive attitude
  • ·Proven attention to detail including field data collection
  • ·Experience camping in bear country
  • ·Advanced sea-kayaking skills including surf zone and ability to perform rolls and rescues
  • Sea kayak certification from American Canoe Association or British Canoe Union


Fiscal Support: SCS will provide a stipend of $4,664 for this 14 week position. SCS will also provide up to $1,000 to cover the lowest cost airfare from the resident’s current location to Sitka. Airfare will be reimbursed upon submittal of receipts to SCS.



With respect to agency/organization policy and safety, intern agrees to:

  • ·Adhere to the policies and direction of SCS, including safety-related requirements and training, including those related to remote travel and field work.
  • ·Work closely with the SCS Wilderness Project Coordinator to update him/her on accomplishments and ensure that any questions, concerns or needs are addressed.
  • ·Be a good representative of SCS at all times during your internship.
  • ·Arrange course credits with your university if applicable.

With respect to general logistics, resident agrees to:

  • Seek lowest possible round trip airfare or ferry trip and book as soon as possible and before May 1st, working in conjunction with SCS whenever possible;
  • Provide SCS with travel itinerary as soon as flight is booked and before arriving in Alaska. Please email itinerary to Adam Andis at
  • Reimburse SCS for the cost of travel if you leave the intern position before the end of your assignment.
  • Have fun and enjoy the experience in Sitka!


Timeline (Approximate)

May 20-June 1: SCS and Forest Service trainings; get oriented and set up in offices; begin researching and getting up-to-speed on background info (Outfitter/Guide Use Areas, patterns of use on the Tongass National Forest (subsistence, commercial fishing, guided, recreation), Wilderness Character monitoring, Wilderness issues).

June 4 – August 17: Participate in field trips and assist in coordinating future trips, contact Outfitter and Guides to distribute educational materials, assist SCS in other Wilderness stewardship activities.

By August 20-24: Prepare final report including any outreach or media products, trip reports, and written summary of experience to SCS. Work with Wilderness Project Coordinator on final reports.




To apply please submit a cover letter and resume that includes relevant skills and experiences including documentation of trips in remote settings to Adam Andis:

Application will close March 31, 2014.


Dec 18 2013

WildFoods Potluck 2013

The WildFoods Potluck is our annual celebration of all things harvested, hunted, fished, grown, and gathered.  The Tongass National Forest and especially the Sitka Community Use Area are rich and abundant places to support our thriving subsistence communities.

Thank you to all our members and friends who came out to celebrate with us this year!  And remember, it’s never too early to start planning your dishes for next year!

The winning dishes from the 2013 Best Dish competition will be posted shortly, so be sure to check back in!

Want to see photos of the event?  Check out the albums on Facebook:

Photos by Christine Davenport

Photos by Andis

Dec 11 2013

Stop “Clear-Cutting” Wilderness and Recreation budgets

Tell Senators Begich and Murkowski: Don't let the Forest Service Clear-Cut the Wilderness and Recreation Budget

Dear Senator,


Share this with your friends:


On the day before Halloween, the US Forest Service announced they were going to reduce the already insufficient $1.1 million dollar Wilderness and Recreation budget for the entire Tongass National Forest by over half a million dollars.

This is “budgetary clear-cutting” with the Forest Service already proposing the closure of 12 cabins alongside a reduction in the staff positions responsible for maintaining trails, keeping cabins stocked and safe, and processing the permits for guides and tour operators.

Cabin closures and loss of Wilderness and Recreation staff overall signifies a lack of prioritization of the tourism and recreation industries here in the Tongass National Forest. The tourism industry alone racks in $1 Billion annually with thousands of visitors coming every year to experience the wilderness of Southeast Alaska.

The Forest Service is not fulfilling its promise of the Tongass Transition. The Transition is a framework the agency adopted in 2010 aimed at creating jobs in sectors like recreation and tourism while moving away from Southeast’s outdated timber management program.  For instance, next year the Forest Service has estimates that just one timber sale will COST taxpayers $15.6 Million (that’s over 25 times the entire Wilderness and Rec budget).  The Transition (were it to be enacted) would dictate that sustainable and profitable programs like Recreation and Wilderness would take precedence over such wasteful timber projects.

The Forest Service enacted the Transition three years ago.  Now we want them to take action to save our recreation and tourism opportunities from these budgetary reductions. We need to support what sustains our livelihoods here in the Tongass rather than reduce them year after year.

Contact Senator Begich and Senator Murkowski. Ask them to encourage the Forest Service to take action on the Tongass Transition by reallocating their budgets to make Wilderness and Recreation a priority and to push for more federal funding for the Forest Service.  Email, while important, are not as effective as written letters.  If you would like help drafting a letter, contact SCS at or call (907) 747-7509.

Nov 19 2013

2014 Calendars Coming Soon

If you were not automatically redirected to the Membership Page, Click Here.

Nov 19 2013

Running Wild

Running Wild from Sitka Conservation Society on Vimeo.

Fellow runners, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts,
Pretty incredible wilderness to explore, eh? I wish I could share it with everyone. However, the management of these incredible places is changing–and there is something you can do about it.
Right now, the Chief of the Forest Service Tom Tidwell needs to hear from you about your interests in the Tongass National Forest, the largest remaining temperate rainforest in the world.
 The Forest Service is shifting to a new mentality where timber is not on the top of their list when it comes to assessing the Tongass.
This shift is called the Tongass Transition, and this transition will focus on keeping the Tongass wild and make sure that the people, wildlife, and salmon can continue to run for generations to come.
This is where you come in.
Open up a blank email, address it to and make the subject “I support the Tongass Transition.” Tell Chief Tidwell that you want your Tongass National Forest to remain wild and intact, and you believe in the Tongass Transition.
Click here for some sample letters and stats you can incorporate in your email. The most important thing to include in your support for the Tongass Transition is what protecting the world’s largest remaining temperate rainforest means to you.
In 5 minutes you’ll be done, and in decades to come the Tongass will still continue to be a wild, epic alternative to those paved streets we’re used to.
Keep the Tongass and salmon running,
Nick Ponzetti


Nov 03 2013

Our Offices get an Energy Upgrade!

The Old Harbor Books Building in Sitka where SCS’s offices are located, received an energy audit by participating in the Alaska Energy Authority’s Commercial Building Energy Audit Program. This video series follows the building’s audit, energy upgrades and expectations.  Visit the Commercial Energy Audit program webpage for more information.

Video 1 of 5 provides background to the Old Harbor Books building and the community of Sitka about improving the efficiency of an old building. This is a collaborative project of the Renewable Energy Alaska Project and Sitka Conservation Society.

Video 2 of 5 tells about the Alaska Commercial Building Energy Audit Program and Brian McNitt, the building manager’s decision to apply for the program. Certified Energy Auditor Andy Baker explains how the building is benchmarked and what data is contained in the report. This is a collaborative project of the Renewable Energy Alaska Project and Sitka Conservation Society.

Video 3 of 5 explains what the certified energy auditor, Andy Baker, recommended for the Old Harbor Books Building. Andy also explains what information is offered in a Level II ASHRAE audit. This is a collaborative project of the Renewable Energy Alaska Project and Sitka Conservation Society.

Video 4 of 5 provides an explanation from the building manager, Brian McNitt, of what recommendations they tackled right away and which ones they will be working on in the near future. This is a collaborative project of the Renewable Energy Alaska Project and Sitka Conservation Society.

In the final video, the Old Harbor Books building manager provides his experience in the Alaska Energy Authority’s Commercial Building Energy Audit Program. Learn more about energy efficiency programs for commercial and residential buildings and how you and your community can benefit by using less energy:


Jul 24 2013

Announcing: Benefit Sailing Trip to West Chichagof

Explore West Chichagof Wilderness

with Sitka Conservation Society and Sound Sailing

Join us to explore the spectacular and wild coast of West Chichagof-Yakobi Island Wilderness aboard a comfortable 50’ sailing yacht!  And help raise funds for Sitka Conservation Society!

We will be travelling from Juneau to Sitka aboard the modern, fast, and roomy S/V BOB with Blain & Monique Anderson of Sound Sailing. Proud SCS members and US Coast Guard licensed and insured sailors; they are offering berths to SCS members for an incredible opportunity to experience the very best of Southeast Alaska. Past participants have encountered orcas, humpback and grey whales, innumerable birds, brown bears, and much more. We will also have knowledgeable and engaging SCS staff member(s) aboard to enrich our understanding of this special place.

Dates: August 24-30, 2013

Cost: $2575 per person (price includes all fare aboard and expenses).

Sound Sailing is proud to donate a substantial portion of trip proceeds to SCS.

To book your berth, or for more information contact Adam at SCS at, or Sound Sailing at (907) 887-9446. Or go to:

Book your spot now! Space is limited to just 6 lucky passengers.

May 30 2013

Wilderness Volunteers Needed

Interested in volunteering with the Community Wilderness Stewardship Project?  This year we’ll have a number of opportunities for you to get into the field with SCS staff and USFS Wilderness Rangers to help collect monitoring data, remove invasive weeds, and enjoy our amazing Wilderness areas.

Below are the trips and dates with spots available for volunteers.  To volunteer, fill out the forms and safety information here, and email them to and


Slocum Arm- 6 days – July 8-July 14 – 2 volunteers

Volunteers will be travelling to Slocum Arm in West Chichagof Wilderness Area to help researchers monitor plots for the Yellow-Cedar study by Stanford University.  The crew will be transported by charter boat to Slocum Arm, then access field plot by kayak.


Slocum Arm – 5 days – July 14-July18 –  2 volunteers

Volunteers will be travelling to Slocum Arm in West Chichagof Wilderness Area to help researchers monitor plots for the Yellow-Cedar study by Stanford University.  The crew will be transported by charter boat to Slocum Arm, then access field plot by kayak.  This trip will trade-out with the previous trip on July 14th.


Port Banks/Whale Bay- 5 days – July12-July16 – 2 volunteers

After boating from Sitka to Whale Bay, the crew will off-load with gear and packrafts. After hiking to Plotnikof Lake, the crew will packraft to the end of the lake, portage to Davidoff Lake and paddle to the end of the lake, then reverse the trip back to salt water.  Volunteers will assist SCS staff and collect ecological and visitor use data. At the end of the trip, volunteers will fly back to Sitka by float plane.


Red Bluff Bay- 8 days – July 21-July 28 – 2 volunteers

Red Bluff Bay on the eastern side of South Baranof Wilderness Area is a spectacular destination. The SCS crew will spend 8 days camping in the bay and traveling by kayak and foot to monitor base-line ecological conditions and visitor use before flying back to Sitka by float plane.


Red Bluff Bay- 7 days – July 28-August 3 – 2 volunteers

Red Bluff Bay on the eastern side of South Baranof Wilderness Area is a spectacular destination. The SCS crew will spend 8 days camping in the bay and traveling by kayak and foot to monitor base-line ecological conditions and visitor use before flying back to Sitka by float plane.  This trip will trade-out with the previous trip on August 3.


Taigud Islands – 7 days – August 11-August 17 – 3 volunteers

Volunteers will paddle from Sitka to the Taiguds and surrounding islands to assist SCS Wilderness staff monitor recreational sites and collect beach debris for future pick-up. The crew will then paddle back to Sitka.  *Note: These dates are not yet firm and may be subject to change.


May 17 2013

Leave No Trace Trainer Course: June 8 and 9

Saturday, June 8th and Sunday June 9th (we will be camping overnight at Starrigavan Campground, Sitka)

Description:  This course will allow participants to learn, practice, and teach the principles of Leave-No-Trace outdoor ethics and will certify participants as LNT Trainers.  The Leave-No-Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is a national organization dedicated to teaching people how to use the outdoor responsibly.  It is the largest and most widely accepted and widely used outdoor ethics accreditation program in the nation.

The Training includes 16 hours of hands-on instruction and overnight camping.  The course will be held at Starrigavan Campground.

This LNT Trainer Course will focus on the skills to teach Leave-No-Trace as well as practical low-impact outdoor skills.  Participants will be asked to prepare a short 10-15 minute lesson on of the Leave-No-Trace principles or other minimum impact topic before the class, then present the lesson during the course.  (These lessons are not expected to be perfect.  They will provide a learning tool for the group to improve their outdoor teaching skills.)

Who:  This course is intended for outfitters, guides, naturalists, Scout leaders, etc., and anyone who would like to have certification to teach Leave-No-Trace skills.

Course Times: The course will begin at 9:30am on Saturday, June 8th and will conclude by 5:00pm on Sunday, June 9th.

Gear: Participants need to bring their own camping gear.  SCS has a limited amount of camping gear to loan if necessary.   Please pack a lunch for the first day.

Cost: $35.00 per person.  The fee covers dinner on Saturday, lunch and dinner on Sunday, drinks, and course materials.

Contact: Please reserve your spot by registering before May 31st.  To facilitate your preparation for the course, we recommend an earlier registration if possible.  You can register by contacting the Sitka Conservation Society at 907-747-7409 or by emailing

Instructors:         Adam Andis, Master Educator, Sitka Conservation Society

Bryan Anaclerio, Master Educator Trainer, Sitka Conservation Society

Darrin Kelly, Master Educator, USDA Forest Service

Download a printable flyer HERE.



May 10 2013

Sealaska: Fact over Fiction


Private Property signs on Sealaska Corporation lands

(photo from the Sealaska Shareholder’s Underground)

In a recent Letter to the Editor in the Sitka Sentinel, the President and CEO of Sealaska Corporation attempted to waylay our fears that the public would not be allowed on lands transferred to the corporation’s private ownership by the Sealaska Bill.  He also stated that Sealaska does “not post ‘No Trespassing  in any form on [Sealaska Corp.] lands,” and goes on to state that “Sealaska stands on its history, having allowed access to its lands for responsible use.”

Update: See our full response, published May 10th in the Sitka Sentinel at the bottom of the post.

The mission of the Sitka Conservation Society is to protect the public lands of the Tongass National Forest.  As public lands, they belong to all Americans as National Patrimony.  Although lands in public hands are not always managed how we want, the process exists for citizens to have their voices heard and give input on how the lands are managed.  Most importantly, public access is guaranteed and not restricted in anyway.  If important sites on the Tongass like Redoubt Lake are privatized and owned by Sealaska Corporation, they are no longer part of all our national patrimony and the public does not have a say in how they are managed.  Sealaska Corporation says that they will allow “unprecedented access.”  Whatever that is, it is nothing compared to current access on these lands that all of us currently own as American citizens.

Our greatest fears concerning the potential in-holding parcels that the Sealaska Corporation wants to own is not what may happen in the next few years, but what will happen 10, 20, or 30 years from now.  We understand that Sealaska will make many promises now when they want support for their legislation.  But we can’t predict what future Sealaska Corporate boards might decide to do with the land and who may or may-not be allowed to use them.  These fears are what unsettles us the most about the Sealaska legislation.

Below is the current Sealaska policy for access to its lands which clearly states access is per their discretion:

(Click here to download the entire report.)

Letter to the Editor, published in the Sitka Sentinel May 10th, 2013.

Dear Editor:
Recently the Sealaska Corporation’s President and Corporate Executive Officer (CEO), Chris McNeil called out the Sitka Conservation Society in a letter to the editor and called us out for causing “anxiety, anger, and opposition” to Sealaska’s actions. I would respond to Mr. McNeil that we are not causing this reaction, we are responding to it as it is what most of us in the community feel when we think of public lands like Redoubt Falls, Port Banks, Jamboree Bay, Kalinin Bay, and places in Hoonah Sound being taking out of public hands and put into corporate ownership.
We did put graphics with cartoon police tape over a photo of SItkans subsistence dip-net fishing at Redoubt falls. They can be seen on our website at These graphics represent our greatest fears: that a place that all of us use and depend on, and that is owned by all Americans (native and non-native), will have limitations put on it under private ownership or will be managed in a way where members of the public have no voice or input.
Our fears come from past Sealaska actions. We also put photos on our website of Sealaska logging on Dall Island and around Hoonah; and we linked to the story of Hoonah residents who asked that logging not be so extensive and target their treasured places but were logged anyway. The case in those areas is that the corporate mandate to make a profit superseded what community members wanted. We are scared of what corporate management of these important places around Sitka will mean on-the-ground and we will continue to speak out to protect our public lands.
Mr. McNeil Jr. paints the issue as native vs. non-native and accuses SCS of wanting to “put natives in a box.” For us, the issue is about distrust of corporations without public accountability, not ethnicity. Mr. McNeil has an annual compensation package that is far greater than the entire SCS budget. He is flanked by lawyers who can write legal language and policy that we cannot begin to understand the implications of. Even in their different versions of the House and Senate legislation, the access policy is very different, confusing, and ultimately subject to Sealaska’s whims. As SCS, we are speaking out against a corporation owning the public lands where publicly owned resources are concentrated on the Tongass.
Sealaska’s legislation is not good for Sitka if it means that more places like Redoubt Falls could be taken out of public hands and transferred to a corporation.
Andrew Thoms



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Keep up to date on all of the issues. Check out "The Southeaster" Blog.

  • Hungry for Huckleberry Pie, Venison Stew, or Fresh Greens? Come to the Wild Foods Potluck Nov. 2!
  • Stand Up to Corporate Influence!
  • Kayaking Kootznoowoo: Report on SCS’s Final Wilderness Trip
  • Encouraging Local Natural Resource Stewardship on the Tongass: Kennel Creek
  • Teaching the Alaska way of Life: 4-H in Sitka
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