The Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project seeks to connect communities with their local Wilderness areas by facilitating volunteer stewardship and monitoring. Over the past three years, the project has been an overwhelming success and will be continuing in to 2012 and 2013.
This is the Final Report for the 2011 Community Wilderness Stewardship Project. Components of the Data Report for the 2011 project can be found below.
Can’t see the report? Down load the pdf here: Wilderness Project 2011 Final Report
2011 Data Report
* Data is primarily for Sitka Ranger District. Data for other ranger districts can be found in the in reports specific to each Wilderness Area in thefull project file below.
Wilderness Stewardship Project 2011 – Full Project File- The full project file contains all photos, reports, data, radio interviews, videos, and products from the 2011 project. (This is a large file–3.5 Gb)
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 2012 summer field season.
If interested, please review the position description below and submit a resume and cover letter to Adam Andis at email@example.com.
This position is now closed.
Position Title: SCS Wilderness Project Internship
Host Organizations: Sitka Conservation Society
Location: Sitka, Alaska
Duration: 14 weeks, starting in May 2013. 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 try to assist in finding low-cost housing options). 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, sea kayaking, multi-day backpacking
- · 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org..
- 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!
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: email@example.com
Application will close March 31, 2013.
Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project
Expedition Grant Program
Description: The Community Wilderness Stewardship Project monitors the two Wilderness areas that the Sitka Conservation Society helped to create, the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness and the South Baranof Wilderness. We conduct research expeditions to collect data ranging from botanical surveys to small mammal genetic mapping to glacial change research. These remote study areas are difficult and expensive to access. For this reason, we seek research partners to broaden the scope of the project and ensure that the trips are as effective as possible.
Ideal candidates for Expedition Grants would include partnerships with other institutions, organizations, or agencies; focus on priority sites within Wilderness areas; incorporate an outreach component; and include additional outside funding.
Location: Based out of Sitka, Alaska. Research must occur within West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness Area or South Baranof Wilderness Area.
Dates: May – December 2012
Proposals due by: May 1, 2012
Compensation: SCS may fund up to $1000
To Apply: Submit proposal* and cover letter to Adam Andis- firstname.lastname@example.org
* Research in Forest Service Wilderness Areas requires a special permitting process. SCS staff will help facilitate the research permit application, but it is the responsibility of the applicant to complete all necessary forms and work with the Sitka Ranger District to receive a temporary research permit for the project. See useful resources below.
Scientific Activities Evaluation Framework- Use this evaluation framework to apply for research permits. The actual application begins on page 54.
Guidelines for Scientists- The following guidelines are written for scientists who want to conduct scientific activities in
wilderness. These are only brief guidelines intended to help scientists understand and
communicate with local managers, thereby expediting the process of evaluating a proposal for
Expedition Grant Proposal 2011- Establishing Baseline and Groundtruthing Data within the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness, Chichagof Island, Alaska
Project Proposal 2010- Glacial Change on Baranof Island: Quantifying Local-level Impact of Climate Change
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.
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 email@example.com.
This position is now closed.
Full position description:
Position Title: Wilderness Botany Intern Position
Host Organizations: Sitka Conservation Society (www.sitkawild.org)
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.
- 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.
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 Wilderness.net
Photos by Ben Hamilton
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
Check out the pictures from the talk below.
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!
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.
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.