Crowds spoil downtown

Posted: Sunday, January 09, 2000

I was delighted to read, in my local paper, an article from the New York Times addressing the issue of cruise ship tourism in Juneau, and the approval of a $5 tax on every passenger. In June 1998, my two teen-age boys and I accompanied my brother on a seven-day fishing and touring trip on his recreational fishing boat. I don't need to go into great detail about the wondrous scenery and wildlife we were exposed to at every turn. The mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, animals, and fish were spectacular! We even had six out of seven days of sunshine.

Our explorations downtown Juneau were another story. We were swarmed by hundreds of tourists and they sure didn't blend in with the original quaintness of the town. My first reaction was to find out on which day the tourist ships were all gone, then visit downtown at that time. However, I was disappointed to learn that they never went away. Each day there were more and larger ships than the day before, until one day there were five! I'm glad your residents are working on this issue. Hooray for Haines for limiting the number of cruise ships allowed at its dock! I hope you can do it, too. Surely visiting Juneau would be much more pleasurable for everyone, including cruise ship passengers, if the town weren't overrun with people and t-shirt shops. Please preserve your treasures. I would love for my grandchildren to see what I saw.

Elizabeth Miller

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