|Letter to the Editor,
Ketchikan Daily News
September 13, 1999
Regarding the Misty Fiords article "Dock lacks state permit"
I hold a special use priority permit with the Forest Service to conduct approved activities within the boundaries of Misty Fiords National Monument. This National Treasure was set aside by Presidential Proclamation in 1978 to "provide a high degree of remoteness from the sights and sounds of humans and to assure opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation activities consistent with wilderness preservation." I must pay a fee to the U.S. Forest Service for any of my guests to set foot on land within Misty Fiords, and I must provide an activity report at the end of the season and then Iím charged accordingly. The guidelines are strict, as well they should be in order to maintain quality wilderness experiences for everyone within the Monument. No more than 12 people atone site at any given time. No more than 6 floatplane landings at one site in a given day, (Etc.).
I find the un-permitted, unauthorized activities associated with the floating dock in Rudyerd Bay and conducted by Alaska Cruises since 1992 not only inconsistent with wilderness preservation but irresponsible and unethical. They never applied for a permit! They pay nothing. They herd as many as 180 people at the floating dock at one time and require up to 12 or more floatplanes to complete the cruise/fly package. The daily traffic of the high speed catamaran and the squadron of noisy floatplanes barnstorming the bay is in direct contrast with wilderness, directly compromises permitted activities, negatively impacts wildlife and has displaced appropriate users, not to mention diminishes the wilderness experiences of recreational users and other small cruise ship passengers.
Alaska Cruises/Goldbelt should be held accountable for their irresponsible actions, should be fined for unauthorized use within the Misty Fiords National Monument, should immediately and permanently remove the floating dock and then be restricted to one "vessel only" excursion a day. Future unbridled action by them should cause their being permanently banned from any Wilderness Monument.
Those of us who follow the rules will be relentless in our pursuit of compliance and responsible ecotourism.
Misty Fiords is a National Treasure not Alaska Cruises/Goldbelt personal playground without rules!
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