Cruise company will move debated dock in Misty Fiords

Posted: Monday, January 10, 2000

KETCHIKAN - A small cruise company plans to move its floating dock in Misty Fiords National Monument after two federal agencies objected to its location.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service expressed concern that the Alaska Cruises dock at the head of Rudyerd Bay could be harmful to fish, harbor seals and bears.

Ketchikan-based Alaska Cruises is a subsidiary of Goldbelt, the urban Native corporation for Juneau. Rudyerd Bay is a jagged inlet in Misty Fiords, about 50 miles east of Ketchikan by boat. Access is only by sea or air.

Susan Bell, Alaska Cruises president, said the company plans to find another location in Rudyerd Bay that will not affect wildlife.

Alaska Cruises will look for ``a good anchorage with scenic value that would be excellent for the passengers, the float (and) the planes,'' Bell said.

Alaska Cruises offers a summer tour of Misty Fiords that includes a cruise and a floatplane flight. The floating dock is used to transfer passengers between the boat and the planes.

In June, Goldbelt was informed the float required a state permit. The company applied for a permit in August.

Several state and federal agencies are reviewing the application, but Bell said the company decided to relocate the float in the spirit of cooperation.

``I think what we're motivated by is to show we're willing to look at an area that will serve our needs and respond to concerns that were raised,'' she said.

In a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, Bell asked that the permit process be suspended until Alaska Cruises finds a new location for the float.

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