Sitka Conservation Society
May 03 2012

Weatherization 101: Programming You Heater

Weatherization 101 is a six part series produced by the Sitka Conservation Society and the City and Borough of Sitka Electric Department to help Sitkans increase their energy awareness, conserve electricity, and save money.  Links to all six videos are below.

The State of Alaska has set a goal of achieving a 15% increase in energy efficiency per capita by 2020.  This effort is especially important in Sitka because the demand for electricity exceeds supply.  This effort is also important because the community has set goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  In an effort to help Sitkans take steps to reducing their energy use and save money on energy costs, SCS has teamed up with local partners to create a series of “how-to” videos.  The partners in the project include the City of Sitka Electric Department, Sitka Girl Scout Troop 4140, and local contractor Marcel LaPerriere.

Weatherization 101:  Programming your Heater

You can save up to 10% of your space heating bill by turning your heater 3 degrees lower for only 8 hours a day.  This video demonstrate how to use a programmable thermostat on a Toyo Heater.


Weatherization 101: Lightbulbs

Weatherization 101: Hot Water Heater

Weatherization 101: Choosing the Right Type of Caulking for SE Alaska

Weatherization 101: Caulking with Troop 4140

Weatherization 101: Home Breaker Panels

Video by Andre Lewis.


Feb 10 2012

The Tongass is America’s Salmon Forest

The Tongass produces more salmon than all other National Forests combined.  These salmon are a keystone species in the temperate rainforest ecosystems and hundreds of species depend on them– including humans.  Salmon have been a food source in Southeast Alaska for thousands of years and continue to be the backbone of the economy.  The salmon from the Tongass are a sustainable resource that can continue to sustain communities, livelihoods, and ecosystems well into the future– if we manage the land and waters correctly.  The Forest Service is at a critical cross-roads right now in its “transition” framework as it moves out of Industrial Old Growth Logging and into more diverse and sustainable ways to create benefits from National Forest lands and resources.  Because the Tongass is America’s Salmon Forest,  and because Salmon are so important to all of us, we encourage the Forest Service to shift resources into the Tongass Fisheries and Watershed program and work to protect and restore salmon habitat and our salmon fisheries.

You can help us protect Tongass Salmon by taking action: here

Jan 25 2012

Action Alert: Make Salmon a Priority UPDATED

Make Management and Protection of Wild Alaska Salmon a Priority in the Tongass National Forest!

Check out the example letters at the bottom of the post for inspiration.

Background: 5 species of Pacific Salmon spawn in the Tongass National Forest. For thousands of years, those salmon have played a key role for the peoples and cultures that make their home on the Tongass. Today, the connections and traditions between communities and salmon is still one of the most important associations that we have with the natural environment of the Tongass.

Take Action: Management of the Tongass National Forest is currently at a critical crossroads. As we begin to move beyond the ill-fated, industrial logging phase of Tongass Management, the region and the Forest Service is striving to define a new paradigm for Tongass Land Management. The decision makers who govern the Tongass need to hear from you now that management for Wild Alaska Salmon is the most important use of the Tongass National Forest.

You Can Help Now: by writing letters to Alaska State Senators, the Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture, and the Alaska Regional Forester telling why Salmon are important for SE Alaska and how our dependence on the lands and the waters of the Tongass revolves around Salmon.

Here are some of the important points that you can highlight:

  • Salmon are the backbone of the economy of SE Alaska
  • The economic value and the jobs created by commercial harvest of Salmon is much greater than the economic value of the Timber industry—even though more money and resources are spent on the timber program ($23 million) than salmon management and restoration ($1.5 Million).
  • Salmon are important for both the local seafood industry, the SE Alaskan visitor industry, and rural communities who depend on subsistence fishing
  • Subsistence harvest of salmon on the Tongass is one of the most important protein sources for SE Alaskans— outline how subsistence caught salmon are important for you
  • Forest Service management of subsistence fisheries (such as Redoubt Lake) have enormous benefits for Sitka and other SE Alaskan Communities– expanding this program is critical
  • Salmon Habitat Restoration Projects—such as the work being done in the Starrigavan Valley and Sitkoh River in Sitka—are the most important efforts currently being conducted by the Forest Service on the Tongass. This work should be continued and expanded.
  • The success of Tongass Management should no longer be tied to “million-board feet of timber produced” but rather should be measured on the successful rehabilitation, enhancement, and continuance of Wild Salmon Runs on the Tongass
  • Continued and expanded research and investigation on Alaskan Salmon is a huge priority to assess how we will manage salmon in the face of climate change

What to do: write a letter, send it out to decision makers, pass it along to SCS so we can help make all our voices heard, and continue to get involved.

Send Letters to (email is fine):

Senator Lisa Murkowski
709 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
Email to staff:
Senator Mark Begich
144 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Email to staff:
Undersecretary Robert Bonnie
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Tom Tidwell Chief of USDA Forest Service
US Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C.
Beth Pendleton
Regional Forester
Alaska Region 10

Please send a copy to us at the Sitka Conservation Society offices at We will keep track of the letters that are received by decision makers and work on getting them delivered in person by a fisherman to decision makers in Washington, DC.

Example Letters:

Feel free to use the ideas in these example letters to write you own.

Tele Aadsen Letter

Adam Hackett Letter

Matt Lawrie Letter

Spencer Severson Letter

Jan 20 2012

Expedition: Russell Fjord

In the summer of 2011, the SCS Wilderness crew traveled north to Russell Fjord Wilderness to assist the Yakutat ranger district in Wilderness monitoring.  Check out the video, report, and photos to learn more about the project and this uniquely rugged Wilderness.

From Disenchantment Bay, at the upper end of Yakutat Bay, heavily glaciated Russell Fjord penetrates about 35 miles inland, but the advance of Hubbard Glacier is slowly squeezing it off from the sea… Within the area, which lies between the Fairweather and Brabazon Ranges, you’ll find forested river valleys rising to alpine meadows and snowcapped peaks… At the northwest boundary of Russell Fjord, the Hubbard Glacier, one of the largest and most active tidewater glaciers in North America, is advancing to Gilbert Point. Twice in the last 40 years, the Hubbard has closed against the Puget Peninsula. Eventually, this unique event will become a long term situation converting Russell and Nunatak Fjords to immense freshwater lakes.  –from

Report of the trip prepared by Scott Harris

Photos by Ben Hamilton

Jan 16 2012

Wilderness Expedition: Cross Baranof

Updated: 1/16/2010

The land enclosed in the borders of South Baranof Wilderness Area is steep, remote, and difficult to travel. Other than the intrepid mountain goat hunters, this area of the Wilderness receives almost no foot traffic.

In August of 2011, as part of the Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project, as expedition was organized to collect baseline plant and recreational use data. Thanks to packrafts donated by Alpacka Raft Company the Sitka Conservation Society Wilderness crew completed a pioneering transect along the southern boarder of the Wilderness Area.  See the slideshow and read the full report below.


Report: Tongass Wilderness Stewardship: Packrafting across Baranof Island

Thank you to everyone who came to see my presentation “The Other Route Across the Island” at the Library on Sunday.  It was a packed house!

Check out the pictures from the talk below.



Dec 27 2011

Reboubt Falls Land Transfer

Sealaska is moving forward with plans to take ownership of Redoubt Falls.  Stakes have been placed, and opportunities for public comment on this divisive plan are limited.

Although Sealaska has claimed in the past that the public will continue to have access to the most important subsistence sockeye stream close to Sitka, there doesn’t seem to be a legal mechanism to guarantee public access once the land is transferred.  The Sitka Tribes have submitted a letter of support for the transfer which doesn’t mention continued public access.

Bureau of Land management publication states, ”Do not hunt, fish, or trap on or from a 17(b)easement unless you first get a permit and permission from the Alaska Native corporation who owns the private land.” The regulations in the Bureau of Land Management publication will apply to Redoubt Falls, if transferred to Sealaska.  Sealaska attorney Araugo has stated in the past that access to Sealaska land would be granted on a “case by case” basis.

Currently the Forest Service is the agency with the standing to object to the transfer based on protecting the valuable fishery at Redoubt.  A strong show of support for keeping Redoubt open to the public is needed through letter to the Forest Service
For more information call SCS at 747-7509.  If  you would like to take action, please urge the City Assembly to pass a resolution to keep Redoubt Falls public land.
Read the full briefing sheet on the issue:
Dec 16 2011

Expedition: West Chichagof

West Chichagof Wilderness has always been near and dear to our hearts here at SCS, in fact we probably wouldn’t be here today if our founders hadn’t fought for its protection (check out the whole history here).  And we still protect it today, by monitoring on the ground conditions that lead to effective management decisions and give us a baseline to chart the health of the ecosystem.

In the summer of 2011, the SCS Wilderness crew spent 3 weeks aboard the S/V Paulette, captained by our good friend Ken Merrill traveling the entire coast-line of West Chichagof.  Ben Hamilton of Pioneer Videography came along to document the trip.  You can watch all of his videos below.


Week One

Week Two

Be sure to check out the cave report and map of “Calvin Cave” here.

Week Three


Dec 10 2011

Starrigavan Restoration

This is a test post about the Starrigavan Restoration Project.

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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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