At least one state official in Juneau is excited about upcoming improvements to Amalga Harbor endorsed by the city and borough planning commission this week.
Tom Donek said he is a fisherman in addition to being access coordinator for the Division of Sport Fish in the Alaska Fish and Game Department. The department will pick up most of the tab for the Amalga Harbor improvements.
"It's my wife's favorite place to fish," he said of the small basin about a 15-minute drive north of Auke Bay.
Along with dredging Amalga Harbor to improve access, plans call for ramps to be rebuilt, parking to be expanded and public restrooms to be upgraded.
Donek said the Division of Sport Fish has set aside up to $2 million for the project. Funding for the division's recreational boating and angler access improvements comes from money derived from federal excise taxes on sport fishing tackle, recreational boats and gasoline used in recreational boats. The funding source was authorized by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act.
The city has put the planned improvements out to bid. Donek said the extent of the project could be determined when the real costs are known.
The key will be the dredging, he said. As John Stone, port director for the city and borough, pointed out in his report to the planning commission, boats currently can't launch at low tide.
Still, Amalga Harbor remains popular, Donek said. "I was there last Sunday, and there was no place to park," he said. He added that there was a minus-two-foot tide at 7 a.m., preventing boat launchings "when everyone wants to get out."
Because the tides limit the times when boats can be launched, they increase congestion, he explained. Parking improvements will be needed even more when people are able to launch throughout the day, he added.
Stone said he is hoping the project will be completed in time for next year's best fishing.
Tony Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.