Some cruise ships are showing a new safety video created in response to a passenger falling to his death on Mount Juneau nearly three years ago.
Princess Cruises is showing the seven-minute video, "One Foot at a Time: Trail Safety in Alaska," on its seven ships, said Kirby Day, director of shore operations. The video plays on the ships' Port and Shore Excursion Channel that runs continuously on the ships' televisions, he said.
"It not only relates to cruise ship passengers, but any visitor coming to Alaska," Day said. "It's a good tool."
Cruise ship passenger Evan Schroeder, 17, of New Jersey died of head injuries related to a fall on Mount Juneau in August 2001.
Royal Caribbean Cruises is still reviewing the safety video at its Miami headquarters, said Don Habeger, director of industrial relations. If approved, the company hopes to show the tape this tourist season, he said.
"There have been issues with folks bushwhacking," Habeger said. "Obviously there was a niche or a need for this safety video."
Trail Mix, a nonprofit trail-building and maintenance group, formed a planning committee about 18 months ago to make the video, along with a second one aimed more at independent travelers, Trail Mix Board President Alice J. Rarig said. The second video, "Unparalleled Opportunity, Unequaled Beauty," shows the same footage as the first but also includes a three-minute piece about boat safety, she said. The second tape is scheduled for distribution this week.
The city approved $15,000 to produce both tapes. KTOO-TV shot most of the footage in the summer of 2003, Rarig said.
City funding, however, did not cover the cost of printing the videos, Rarig said. Trail Mix is trying to cover the cost of printing the shorter tape. The Alaska Injury Prevention Program in the state Department of Health and Social Services is paying for the longer tape.
The longer tape will be distributed to federal parks' visitors centers, Southeast communities that have a visitors center or museum, the state ferry system, and scouting and similar organizations. The U.S. Coast Guard will get several copies to be used for training, Rarig said.
The public may already view the longer video at Centennial Hall and the nature center at the top of Mount Roberts Tramway run by the Goldbelt Tour Center. The shorter video is available at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center and Centennial Hall. Trail Mix is selling the videos at $5 apiece for a VHS version or $10 as a DVD.
The shorter video depicts local actors who venture off on a hike but find themselves unprepared in terms of clothing, food and weather. Rarig and officials from the state troopers, Juneau Mountain Rescue and Southeast Alaska Dogs for Organized Ground Search explain the importance of staying on trails, notifying others of one's whereabouts and dressing appropriately.
Tara Sidor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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