It was a beautiful day at the UAS Noyes Pavilion when the Auke Lake Trail dedication ceremony was held June 11. 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, with $999,274 in private support and $223,982 in public support through the Alaska Trails Initiative. 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 Laraine Derr, and City Assemblymember 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 titled “Auke Lake Trail 101: A Natural History of Juneau.”
Built over the pre-existing highway bridge foundation, a new 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 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. His love of nature, especially bird-watching, was a lifelong passion. The sign honoring 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 and friends.