Public-Private Partnership for Cross Trail Connector in Sitka
The newly opened Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal, a privately-owned dock to welcome visitors while avoiding crowds near the city center.
A partnership between Sitka Trail Works and Royal Caribbean Group is building a multi-use trail just north of the new Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal.
Into the Outdoors
Once constructed, the Cross Trail Connector will allow cruise visitors to set off on foot without waiting for a bus, improving traffic flow. The proximity and gentle grade of the Cross Trail also provides local access to the outdoors without challenging terrain.
“The best part of the Alaska experience is getting people into the great outdoors, whether they be local residents or travelers to Sitka,” says Wendy Lindskoog, regional vice president, government relations, Alaska and the West Coast, Royal Caribbean Group. “We hope our $75,000 commitment to the project will also help provide an incentive for other funding partners to step forward.”
The development partnership allows Sitka Trail Works to secure federal funds to complete the route to Halibut Point Road.
“The Cross Trail has been a community dream since 1976 when it first appeared in a Parks and Recreation plan,” says Sitka Trail Works project director Lynne Brandon. “We want to say thank you to all our members and partners, including Royal Caribbean Group, for this generous contribution to complete the dream.”
Since 2009, Sitka Trail Works, in partnership with the City and Borough of Sitka and US Forest Service, has raised $4.9 million in public and private funding for the construction. The current phase of the project expands the trail by 2.6 miles and includes the 0.6-mile connector to Halibut Point Road. Royal Caribbean Group’s donation will leverage matching funds for future federal grants to complete the connector trail’s construction before next season.
Sitka Dock welcomed Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas and Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess, two of the largest cruise ships to visit Alaska, to port on Saturday, May 7, marking the start of a full cruise season after two years of pandemic interruptions. The ships arrived at the newly constructed Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal, a 40,000-square-foot timber-framed facility featuring local retail shops and restaurants, an outdoor covered terrace, and a departure point for land- and water-based shore excursions.
“We’re thrilled to welcome summer 2022 cruise passengers with this state-of-the-art dock and facility,” says Chris McGraw, owner of Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal, located about five miles outside of downtown Sitka. McGraw adds, “Not only does this create a more seamless departure for water- and land-based tours, it keeps the ships mostly out of locals’ day-to-day views and eases downtown traffic.”
Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas and Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess docked on May 7, marking the start of the first season for Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal.
Five years in the making, the 1,300-foot dock is designed to accommodate two 1,000-foot neo-Panamax-class cruise ships, with a total capacity of 8,000 guests. A shuttle for cruise guests between the terminal and downtown Sitka is designed to load up to four 60-passenger motor coaches at a time.
“The Sitka community has worked incredibly hard to prepare its residents and destination partners to accommodate the arrival of cruise guests who are seeking special Alaska vacation memories in one of the world’s top destinations,” says Royal Caribbean Group Director of Destination Development, Alaska and West Coast, Preston Carnahan. “The Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal is a testament to how business alliances and community engagement can result in sustainable development of first-class marine and guest experience infrastructure.”