Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Triathlon aims at focusing awareness on Chilkat River


A planned paddle-bike-run triathlon aims to bring awareness to clean water issues involving the Chilkat River.

Longtime clean water activist Gershon Cohen this week started seeking sponsors for the Chilkat Challenge Triathlon he hopes to hold July 16.

It would involve an eight-mile canoe paddle from Mosquito Lake to 21 Mile Haines Highway, a bike race from 21 Mile to Jones Point and a foot race from Jones Point to Chilkat State Park.

The event would be open to teams or solo competitors. Registration opened Feb. 15 at

The event, hosted by Alaska Cleanwater Advocacy, is not intended to stop a potential mine at the Palmer project, an active mine exploration site, Cohen said.

“We are doing this to raise awareness about keeping the Chilkat River healthy, and we need to be concerned about that whether or not the mine happens. But if the mine happens, having more awareness in the community about what the river represents to us, (in terms of) tourism, food, et cetera, is good,” Cohen said.

The race will be funded by sponsorships and entry fees, and will feature prizes for racers. Cohen said he hopes the event becomes an annual tradition.

Contacted last week, tourism director Leslie Ross said she hoped to be in contact with event organizers to help with logistics, safety, accommodations and to promote businesses. “As the tourism director, I love events. I think they bring people into town, make our town fun and vital,” Ross said.

Ross said she hasn’t been approached or educated on the environmental aspect of this event.

“As the borough will not be a sponsor, I do not see this in conflict for us. The Haines CVB is here to support visitors coming into town for any event from – skiers, to folks drinking beer at beerfest, and to those wanting to float down our rivers for a cause. We support people filling our hotels, restaurants, and stores.”

“I do not know enough about the event to give my opinion of success or comments other than it sounds like a fun event that fits into our brand as the Adventure Capital of Alaska,” Ross said.


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