Sitka Conservation Society
Feb 06 2012

UPDATE 2/6: Boy Scout Troop 40 Adopts the Stikine

In June of 2012, members of Wrangell’s Boy Scout Troop 40 joined forces with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC), the Sitka Conservation Society (SCS), the United States Forest Service and local volunteers to help remove invasive plants from the Stikine-LeConte Wilderness Area.  The objective of the trip was to remove the aggressive reed cannery grass from the banks of the Twin Lakes by hand pulling the plants as well as covering areas with sheets of black plastic.  The group also helped remove an enormous amount of buttercups and dandelions from the lakes’ shoreline.

However, the ultimate goal of the trip was to teach the Boy Scouts what it means to be good stewards of the land and the value of Wilderness areas like the Stikine.  What better way is there to teach this lesson then to spend five days in the Wilderness learning these lessons first hand from the land and from each other?

After five days in the field, Troop 40 decided to adopt the Twin Lakes area as their ongoing stewardship project.  They plan to return in the coming years to continue the work that they’ve started.  It is community dedication like this that the Stikine and other wilderness areas require in order to remain pristine for future generations.

Jan 26 2012

Seeking Summer Botany Intern

We are seeking an applicant who is comfortable identifying Pacific Northwest flora, documenting and cataloging herbarium quality samples as part of the Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project.  The Botany Intern will accompany the SCS Wilderness field crew on expeditions to identify, record, and collect plant specimens.

If interested, please submit a resume and cover letter to Adam Andis at


This position is now closed.


Full position description:

Position Title:  Wilderness Botany Intern Position

Host Organizations:  Sitka Conservation Society (

Location:  Sitka, Alaska

Duration:   12-week internship, June-Sept 2013

Compensation:  Paid with stipend for travel from Seattle


Background:  For over 45 years, Wilderness stewardship and advocacy have been core principles of the Sitka Conservation Society.  SCS played the key role in the establishment of the West Chichagof-Yakobi in 1980.  In 2009, with support from the Wilderness Stewardship Challenge grant program, SCS partnered with the local Forest Service District to conduct stewardship activities and recruit volunteers to collect data in the two Wilderness areas near Sitka (West Chichagof-Yakobi and South Baranof).  The goal of this project is to ensure Wilderness areas meet a minimum management standard.  One element the Forest Service has identified as a priority for this management standard is that Wilderness areas are “successfully treated for non-native, invasive plant species.”  In addition to non-native species, we also collect data on rare and sensitive species as these species may be indicators of large forest dynamics.  Working with the SCS staff and Field Crew, this intern position will participate in field expeditions to collect botanical survey data, record and catalog the findings.

Due to the high cost and difficult access of our field expeditions, SCS also partners with various organizations, agencies and institutions to collect additional data in may areas of study to get the biggest “bang for our buck.”  This position may assist in collection of data for partnering projects.

This year, we will continue this project and expand its scope to other Wilderness areas in the Tongass, focusing on building the capacity of local groups to facilitate stewardship projects of their own.  This intern position will present SCS’s botany work and help local groups in developing botanical components of their Wilderness stewardship projects.

Duties:  The Wilderness Project Botany intern will work with SCS staff to implement the National Forest Foundation’s (NFF) Wilderness Stewardship Challenge while also raising awareness and community involvement in Wilderness related activities.  The intern will be supervised by the Outreach and Wilderness Stewardship Coordinator.

Specific Initiatives

  • Participating in Wilderness trips with SCS and contracted staff
  • Field identifying and collecting specimens for catalog
  • Completing post-trip reports
  • Managing the collection and tabulation of botanical survey data
  • Assisting in the collection of other base-line data as needed
  • Helping to lead Wilderness trips
  • Writing articles for publication (i.e. journals, local news media, SCS newsletters, SCS website, etc.) about the Project and Tongass plant communities in Wilderness.
  • Presenting work and conducting plant identification training to project partners



  • Degree or current enrollment in a Botany program or related field.
  • Interest and background in conservation, research, plant sciences.
  • Pertinent work experience and field experience.
  • Professional skills pertinent to the position.

Fiscal Support: The internship will provide a wage of $1,333/month (2 pay periods of 80/hours each) for 3 months. The host organization will also reimburse you the lowest cost round trip to/from Seattle to Sitka, up to $1,000.

Application will close March 31, 2013.

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.



Jan 04 2012

Backwoods Lecture: The Other Route Across the Island

January 15th

5:00pm (note time change)

Kettleson Memorial Library, Sitka

Adam Andis from the Sitka Conservation Society leads the Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project. The project seeks to involve the community to monitor on-the-ground conditions in local Wilderness Areas. In the summer of 2011, the SCS Wilderness Crew spent countless hours bushwhacking in the field, including pioneering a new route across Baranof Island.

The route paralleled the southern boundary of South Baranof Wilderness Area and followed two watersheds from sea to source. To cover the terrain, the team used packrafts, lightweight backpacking techniques, and lots of chocolate.

Come learn a little bit more about your local Wilderness areas and join in the expedition Across the Island!


Dec 27 2011

Expedition: Stag Bay

In the summer of 2010, the SCS Wilderness crew packed up and headed north for an attempt at circumnavigating Yakobi Island by kayak. The weather and health of the crew were not cooperating, so paddling around Yakobi was not an option. Instead, the crew traveled to Stag Bay across Lisianski Strait, which turned out to be a fantastic destination.

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


Sep 25 2011

Expedition: Goat Research 2011

Late in the summer of 2011, Forest Service ranger Darrin Kelly and SCS volunteer Stacey Woolsey set out to Avoss Lake in the South Baranof Wilderness Area to collect data on Baranof’ Island’s goat population.Read the goat_research_flyer and the goat_trip_report for more information.

Jun 26 2011

Expedition: Stikine Wilderness

Sitka Conservation Society partnered with the Tongass National Forest to control invasive plant populations in the Stikine-LeConte Wilderness located on the mainland of southeast Alaska. The main objective was to control the spread of  Reed Canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea).


Jun 25 2011

Expedition: Pleasant Island 2011

Pleasant Island is located just one mile from the community of Gustavus and is used by many for recreation and hunting. SCS partnered with Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and the US Forest Service to address the threats and problems to the Pleasant Island Wilderness Area.

Click on the report to learn more.  PIReport_Small

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