Sunday blaze claims floating fishing lodge

Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2004

Investors in an exclusive floating fishing lodge destroyed by fire Sunday near Glacier Bay will meet in the next two weeks to decide what to do next.

Angler's Choice Lodge "was a very unique place," said Bob Dindinger, president of Alaska Travel Adventures, a minority owner in the operation. With island views and glacier views in the middle of Alaska wilderness, "it was a very, very special place," he said.

Seven miles from Elfin Cove in Port Althorp, north of Chichagof Island and southwest of the entrance to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, the lodge promoted itself as "an executive retreat on top of the fish."

State troopers reported Wednesday that a fire Sunday destroyed the lodge. The investigation has been turned over to the state fire marshal's office.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Robert Plumb in Juneau said Wednesday the blaze remains under investigation, but the office has determined there wasn't anything suspicious about it.

No injuries were reported. Dindinger said there were no guests in the lodge at the time. The lodge had accommodations for eight guests, with four crew members living on a separate float. There is a typical lull in mid-July, between the peak periods for king and coho salmon seasons.

The crew members were watching a video when the fire broke out, Dindinger said.

He said the troopers' reported estimate of $300,000 in damage sounded accurate.

The lodge originally opened in the early 1990s, and Alaska Travel Adventures acquired it in 1996, before selling most of its interest in it, he said. The lodge was remodeled in 1998 and again before it opened this spring. It was open from May through September.

The lodge flew guests in by floatplane from Juneau for a "world class saltwater fishing experience," according to its brochure - which promoted "whopping big fish," "beautiful scenery" and "gourmet cuisine."

Rates ranged from $2,195 per person for a weekend to $4,195 per person for a full week.

The lodge has notified guests who booked later in the year that this season has been canceled, he said.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.



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