A fallen tree given new life supporting recreation, honoring employee

By: Caitlin Purdome

 

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SITKA, Alaska – Using a yellow cedar log from the Tongass National Forest, Sitka-based artist and small-business owner Zach LaPerriere crafted a memorial bench honoring John Sherrod, a long-time Forest Service employee and member of the Society of American Foresters. The bench was installed Oct. 21, 2017.

Zach selected the tree from an area that was severely damaged by a winter storm last season, purchased a permit to acquire it, then set off to design the bench. A crew made up of Sitka Ranger District employees, representatives from the Society of American Foresters, and members of the public then selected the site and assisted the artist in installing the bench.

“This project was fantastic to be a part of because of who it was for and the beautiful location,” said Sitka District Ranger Perry Edwards. “I’m extremely grateful for Zach, the Society of American Foresters and the contributions of our community.”

The new bench sits on the Sitka Cross Trail, which serves as the connector between the City and Borough of Sitka, and Forest Service recreation trails. The bench is located between Yaw Drive and the Harbor Mountain/Gavan Hill trail.

The bench will improve access to recreation sites on the Tongass National Forest by providing a resting point for those who need it. The artist designed the bench to help people strengthen the connection between people and public lands.

“It shows every person who walks the Cross Trail what is possible and connects them to their National Forest,” said LaPerriere. “The bench plants a seed.” 





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/home/?cid=FSEPRD563194