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Auke Trail Dedication

It was a beautiful day at the UAS Noyes Pavilion when the Auke Lake Trail dedication ceremony was held on Saturday, June 11.

By Keni Lynn Campbell

Chancellor John Pugh thanked campaign co-chairs, Laraine Derr, Christine Phillips, and Jim King, Sr. and the donors to the campaign that helped UAS raise over $1.22 million dollars, with $999,274 in private support and $223,982 in public support through the Alaska Trails Initiative.  Attendees were then invited on a guided trail walk with UAS Professor of Geology, Cathy Connor, Ph.D. and Chancellor Pugh. Former Governor and campaign donor Bill Sheffield, for whom a new bridge is named, was in attendance as well as former legislator and donor Arliss Sturgulewski.

Speakers included campaign co-chair Laraine Derr, and CBJ Assembly member Mary Becker.  Balance was brought to the event with special remarks from the Elders of the Aak'w people.  Marie Olson spoke as Elder of the Aak'w Kwaan Eagle Shark people, and Rosa Miller spoke as Elder of the Aak'w Kwaan Raven Dog Salmon people.  A special treat was the telling of the story of the Lady of the Lake by Liana Wallace.

A special "Alumni 101" component of the dedication was an engaging lecture by UAS Professor of Geology, Cathy Connor, Ph.D., "Auke Lake Trail 101:  A Natural History of Juneau."

Built over the pre-existing highway bridge foundation, the pedestrian bridge spans the estuary from Auke Lake to Auke Bay. The bridge is an essential element connecting the Auke Lake Trail to the UAS campus.  One of Juneau's most spectacular views of the Mendenhall Glacier may be seen from this bridge.

A special bird watching area was designated in honor of Judge Robert Boochever.  Boochever was a member of the original site selection committee for the UAS campus.  He chose the site because of its unsurpassed beauty.  A former Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, he was the first Alaskan appointed to the US Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit.  His love of nature, especially bird watching, was a lifelong passion.  The sign honoring Judge Boochever invites trail walkers to stop for a moment and take in the serene beauty of the place and enjoy the birds.

Other major donors are highlighted in signage on the trail including the Rotary Club of Juneau, First National Bank Alaska, and UAS Alumni & Friends.

The Auke Lake Trail features interpretive signs to educate all user groups on the natural and cultural history of the area.  The trail also provides access for anthropology, geology, and environmental science students to use Auke Lake as a natural science lab.  The trail dedicates the east side of Auke Lake as a greenbelt, preserving it for use by migrating waterfowl and local wildlife. Auke Lake is part of a mainland watershed that feeds into Auke Bay.  The Auke Lake Trail offers year-round recreational opportunities for both campus and community, as well as Juneau's many visitors.  Interaction with the environment of Southeast Alaska and a healthy lifestyle is the overwhelming draw for new students, faculty and staff to UAS.

John Pugh and Bill Sheffield

A beautiful historic photo of the original location’s highway bridge from the 1930’s provides the backdrop for the sign for the pedestrian bridge named for Bill Sheffield (with Chancellor Pugh), the fifth Governor of Alaska, who served from 1982-1986.

Duane on bench

Duane Callahan sits on the bench installed in honor of his late wife Myra E. Howe. The plaque on the bench reads, "Driven to do the right thing while civil to all and still able to get it done her way."

Sign unwrapped

Special signage was unveiled during the guided trail walk.  The trailhead sign explains that the trail is a collaborative project between the University of Alaska Southeast and the City and Borough of Juneau. It describes the educational, cultural and recreational impact of the trail, and acknowledges donors of $5,000 or more.

View more photos taken during the dedication and hike from the UAS Photo Gallery.


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