We Alaskans value our freedoms. Freedom of speech without government suppression. Freedom to travel without government control. The ferry system is a lot like having only one newspaper available, that only one person can read and the ink is gone, that prints when it wants, prints only a few copies, makes you wait forever for a copy and costs more than the average person can afford. (Fast newspapers break down a lot too.)
The road out of Juneau is like having as many newspapers as you want, that publish whatever you want, when you want, at any time of the day or night, cost the same for one or thirty to read, with enough copies for all to read at a very reasonable price.
We cannot always speak our mind's wildest thoughts, and there will be days that prudence says don't take the road right now. But the sheer advantage for human freedom of travel, for commerce to expand and give us freedom from some labor or business monopolies that thrive in our closed space, outweighs any possible harm to creatures that have adapted to changing climates and conditions for thousands of years. Except for a selfish, closed-mind person who wants to stop any progress, the road beats out the ferry whenever and wherever a road can be built, a thousand to one. Only twisted logic could ever come to a different conclusion. Let's now build this freedom road that has nearly been talked and stalled to death.
For late-coming Berners Bay lovers, I spent part of my summer of 1958 there, and all of my summers of 1961 and 1962, and lots of time since. The road ended on the bluff above and opposite Benjamin Island, if it was even there yet. We had a couple of commercial boats a summer stop by, nothing more. It was too far for kayakers and hikers and a bit more pleasant without the busy bodies of today. I've lived with the "progress" of getting the road to Echo Cove. Now I say, dig up the road from Yankee Cove to Echo Cove and plant it with trees and rocks, or build the road to Haines. The fair, the frugal and the busy have a right to come and go as they please. And naysayers will grow to appreciate the road to Haines, just as they now appreciate the road to Echo Cove.
Paul M. Hoffman
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