The Juneau Planning Commission approved a project Tuesday to build a wharf at Yankee Cove, next to the Adlersheim Wilderness Lodge.
The privately owned land at Yankee Cove was the original site of a private home, where owners Marion and Naomi Hobbs have run a lodge since 1984. The lodge has been used for private retreats, weddings and helicopter ski operations. Now the Hobbs want to expand the use of the property by adding a marine transfer facility.
The Hobbs plan to build a 30,000-square-foot wharf with an adjoining 30-foot-wide ramp for landing craft. They also will dredge the area seaward of the wharf to create a basin so vessels can tie up to a float. The surface of the dredged area will be about 70,000 square feet.
The marina can be used as a base for whale-watching tour operations, a passenger ferry terminal and a transfer facility of seafood, log and construction materials.
Although the facility might not be available until next summer, fishing and tour companies have already expressed interest in using it.
Elisabeth Babich, president of Northern Keta, said it would be to her salmon caviar company's advantage to have a loading and unloading facility close to the Lynn Canal fishing grounds.
"Auke Bay and even Amalga Harbor are often too far away to run to during the fishing period and the fishermen lose valuable fishing time," Babich said in a letter to the Planning Commission.
Glen Jacobson of Alaska Fjordlines said his tour company can save fuel and time and increase service options with the new marine facility.
The developers expect that about 100 to 200 people will board or disembark vessels at the facility each day and that 20 tons of fish, product or other cargo will be transferred here daily.
The Planning Commission has imposed several conditions to minimize effects on the environment. Bessie Creek, 110 feet away from the project site, is categorized by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as an anadromous fish stream that supports spawning runs of pink salmon.
To protect marine habitat, the Planning Commission requires that the developers use alternatives to treated wood. In-water work shall be prohibited from March 1 through June 15.
Planning Commissioner Jim Scholz spoke in favor of the project but complained that the staff imposed too many conditions