Pelican harbor, winter 2019. The community has not had a ferry in months. (Courtesy/Bauscher)

Southeast Alaska could be looking at a summer of limited ferry service, with some communities remaining fully cutoff. That’s according to a proposed schedule released by the state Department of Transportation on Monday [1-21-20]. 

Under the draft plan, Sitka would receive eight stops a month from May through September: six southbound and two northbound. 

Kake would get four stops per month. Angoon is also scheduled to see four port calls a month, ending a winterlong ferry drought. 

Pelican and Tenakee Springs, however, would remain cutoff for the summer months. Pelican mayor Walt Weller says the town can make do with 8-10 sailings a year. But no ferry service at all? That would devastate the local economy. 

“Having some form of economical transportation in line with what the Alaska Marine Highway System was originally mandated for, which was commerce and supporting these small communities –that’s all we’re asking for,” Weller said. “We don’t have any reason to ask for a ferry every week or even every month. We just don’t want to be cut completely off.” 

The DOT is gathering public comments on the proposed schedule now until February 3rd. They will also hold a teleconference on February 4th to hear additional comments.