Pelican harbor, pictured here in late 2019. The Chichagof Island town hasn’t seen a ferry since last fall. (Heather Bauscher/Courtesy)

Amid a months-long ferry drought, the town of Pelican got a bit of good news this week: the ferry LeConte will make at least one stop there in the spring. 

Pelican was originally left off the draft summer ferry schedule. The town hasn’t had a sailing since last fall. 

Norm Carson, president of Pelican’s chamber of commerce and member of the Marine Transportation Advisory Board, has been advocating for more ferry service for months.  

“Well it’s excellent news for the town, we’ve been without a ferry since October,” Carson says.

He says the sailing will allow residents and the local fish processor to ship in much-needed supplies. And it’s also an opportunity to empty the city’s sewage tank, which would be at risk of overflowing into Lisianski Inlet if it misses its yearly pump out. 

“We’ll have three pumper trucks come out and they will pump out the city septic tank and get back on that ferry and get back to Juneau, same day,” says Carson.  

One ferry isn’t going to carry the town through the summer, but Carson is optimistic that the Alaska Marine Highway will arrange contract service to move people and freight until regular service is restored. 

Carson expects the LeConte will make the Juneau-to-Pelican roundtrip sailing on or around May 17th. 

DOT spokesperson Sam Dapcevich said the agency is working on setting up a run to Pelican, but could not confirm details until the official summer schedule is released.