THREATENED AT MISTY FIORDS.....
In 1992, Alaska Cruises installed two floating docks in the heart of Misty Fiords wilderness at different locations in Rudyerd Bay: one at the entrance and one at the head (near the tide flats and estuary at the mouth of the Rudyerd River). They installed the docks to shuttle passengers back and forth from floatplanes to the vessel Crystal Fiord used in a cruise/fly tour.
They never contacted the state or the Forest Service or the Army Corps of Engineers to ask for permission, nor did they apply for a permit. The state and federal guidelines are clear: no floating docks should be allowed in wilderness areas! In fact, as a matter of record, Dale Pilman of Alaska cruises was asked by the Forest Service to remove the floating docks permanently. He said he would. He never did.
Since 1992, the one floating dock changed from aluminum silver color to a bright green. BUT, the other dock has grown considerably from a 15'x15' into what now measures 50'x75'. It is U-shaped so it can fit the 65' catamaran Majestic Fiord in the middle to off/onload passengers from the several floatplanes tied up to the perimeter. The number of passengers and floatplanes involved with just this activity alone has tripled in the last three years. 1998 was the first year for the high-speed catamaran Majestic Fiord. It carries 90 people -- 300% more than the Crystal Fiord carried. NOW, with promises of more passengers from the cruise ship industry and plans by the new owners (Goldbelt) to add another catamaran of equal or larger size to the operation...well...there goes the neighborhood! Remember that they still DO NOT HAVE A PERMIT!
The owners of the tourism company run their business well. The operation is well kept and clean. However, the basic problem is large and increasing numbers of people, substantial noise, inadvertent pollution, impacts on wildlife, and semi-permanent floating facilities.....in wilderness. Even a tourist who took the cruise/fly trip apparently complained about it. This area is supposed to be wilderness, the person said!
This is happening because the State of Alaska manages the tide and submerged lands, and the US Forest Service manages the rest of Misty Fiords National Monument. The tourism company finally applied for a state permit (after being without one since 1992), and a decision on the permit will be made sometime early this fall.
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!
THIS ISSUE IS SOON GOING TO GO TO PUBLIC COMMENT! MISTY FIORDS NATIONAL MONUMENT-WILDERNESS NEEDS YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT.
Tell the decision makers loud and clear to REMOVE THE FLOATING DOCK PERMANENTLY!
Letters and messages to decision makers are critical right now. Please send at least an e-mail message. Your message will make a difference. Future generations of wilderness explorers will thank you.
Friends of Misty Fiords
p.s. Please consider becoming a Friend of Misty Fiords with a donation to help this cause!
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