Local News

Assembly to consider Herring Cove permits

An ordinance creating a Herring Cove Tourism Management Program is on Monday’s Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly meeting agenda.

The program would be paid for through cruise passenger head-tax funds, and would issue permits for tour businesses that take visitors to Herring Cove for fish and bear viewing.

To obtain a permit, tour operators would have to sign off on a list of rules. They include not dropping passengers off, picking them up or directing them to the highway. Any direction, or lack of direction that leads to customers standing on the Herring Cove Bridge would be a violation of the permit.

Permits also would prohibit parking in the public right-of-way, and driving too slowly in the area. That last provision is meant to discourage slow drive-bys for wildlife viewing, which would impede traffic flow.

Herring Cove is a popular tourist destination, but there’s little if any infrastructure there. Visitors often congregate on the busy, narrow bridge, which is part of the highway, in order to get a better view of wildlife in the creek below. The borough has started plans for a pedestrian bridge, but that will take some time.

If approved, the Herring Cove ordinance will need to come back to the Assembly for a public hearing and a second vote.

Monday’s meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in Borough Assembly chambers at the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.

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