In this June 2016 file photo, Brandon Howard and Maura Selenak talk about starting up Amalga Distillery. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

In this June 2016 file photo, Brandon Howard and Maura Selenak talk about starting up Amalga Distillery. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Distillery covers cost of stolen lumber for Trail Mix

Nonprofit optimistic about chances of getting Treadwell Ditch Trail construction back on schedule

Two weekends ago, someone stole a hefty amount of wood from Trail Mix, Inc., a nonprofit that maintains hiking trails around Juneau.

Even though the lumber has not been returned, the organization could get back on track soon thanks to a donation from a local business: Amalga Distillery. The distillery wrote a check to Trail Mix to replace the lumber — about $1,200, Amalga co-owner Brandon Howard said in an interview Tuesday.

Howard said he was upset when he saw the news that the lumber had been stolen.

“It was something that was taken from Trail Mix, yes, but it was really something that was taken from the community,” Howard said.

The distillery opened in the summer of 2017, and Howard said he and co-owner Maura Selenak have been overwhelmed at the way the community has supported them. This, he said, is one way for them to give back to the people who have given so much to them.

Doug Scudder, the president of the Trail Mix board, said Tuesday that the organization is extremely grateful. The lumber that was stolen, Scudder explained in an earlier letter to the Empire, was going to be used to help build bridges on the Treadwell Ditch Trail on Douglas Island.

Scudder predicted in his letter that the theft would likely delay this construction to next summer. He explained in an interview Tuesday that the specific wood that was stolen will be used later in the construction project, but they didn’t want to start building the bridges and then leave them half-constructed through the winter.

With these funds coming so quickly, Scudder said, those in the organization are optimistic about completing construction of the bridges this summer.

“We’re hopeful that we can stay on schedule,” Scudder said.

He said it depends on how quickly Western Wood Products, which supplies lumber to states in the West, can get the lumber up to Juneau. Scudder said the company is usually pretty fast.

The distillery, Scudder explained, is located just next to Trail Mix’s headquarters on Franklin Street, and people from both organizations have gotten to know each other well during the past year or so. He said the distillery has had special nights where it donates a portion of its proceeds to Trail Mix.

Howard also said they’ve gotten to know the folks at Trail Mix, but the main reason for this donation is for Juneau’s residents and visitors who frequent the city’s vast array of trails.

“The big thing is definitely the fact that the work that they do is creating access for everybody in the community,” Howard said. “Not only that but for so many visitors, what brings them to Juneau is the natural beauty of it.”


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora Forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Feb. 5

Chunks of ice break off the Perito Moreno Glacier, in Lake Argentina, at Los Glaciares National Park, near El Calafate, in Argentina's Patagonia region, March 10, 2016. As glaciers melt and pour massive amounts of water into nearby lakes, 15 million people across the globe live under the threat of a sudden and deadly outburst flood, a new study finds. (AP Photo / Francisco Munoz)
Study: 15 million people live under threat of glacial floods

More than half of those are in just four countries: India, Pakistan, Peru and China.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File 
A porcupine dines in mid-August near the Mendnehall Glacier.
On the Trails: Putting a finer point on porcupines

Plants such as roses and devil’s club aren’t the only prickly ones…

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan addresses a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature in the House chambers on Tuesday. The Republican senator, appearing on the same day as Democratic President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech (and thus absent from it), criticized the administration on issues ranging from drugs to opposing resource development in Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sullivan applauds, denounces feds in speech to Legislature

Senator praises ferry funds and monitoring of China’s balloon, fears Biden limiting oil project.

Members of the Juneau Police Department pose for a group photo during the annual JPD awards ceremony on Monday. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
JPD honors officers in annual award ceremony

The late Chief Pat Wellington presented with legislative memoriam.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Edward Richards, left, a high school student in the Sitka School District, talks about the lack of mental health services in Alaska’s public schools as part of the testimony also offered by district Superintendent Frank Hauser, center, and student Felix Myers during a Senate Education Meeting on Monday at the Alaska State Capitol. The committee is proposing a 17% increase in the state’s school funding formula, which was remained essentially flat since 2017.
School’s in at the Capitol

Students and education leaders from around state make case for more classroom cash.

Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

Most Read