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May 12, Transportation. A small portion of construction materials for the water and sewer project for Emmonak. There was no more room at the Emmonak dock, located near the mouth of the Yukon River, so a new staging area had to be permitted before delivery. Management of water access infrastructure is no easy task. As capital monies and legislative purse strings tighten, commercial and government agencies that oversee ports, harbors, and docks are feeling the pinch. The good news is that the majority of Alaskans and tourists, whether commuters and passengers, pleasure boaters, commercial and sport fishermen, or shippers of cargo and freight, seem to recognize that accessible waterways benefits everyone.
What is even more impressive is the fact that the state has more than 3 million lakes sorry Minnesotaover twelve thousand rivers, thousands of creeks and streams, and over one hundred thousand glaciers. All in all, whether dealing with travel or commerce, Alaska is as much about water as it is about land, mountains, trees, and air. Municipal and nonprofit members exchange information relating to maintenance, operations, safety, enforcement, and regulations. We actively advocate for legislative funding from the State Legislature every year to ensure needed projects keep getting completed.
Alaska may be large, and its water integral, but the nomenclature for access methods bounces across the spectrum of size and shape. Take, for example, a port. This is a location along a shore or coast with at least one harbor where marine vessels can dock and transfer people or cargo from and to land.
The harbor is a body of water that is deep enough and protected so as to offer anchorage for marine vessels. Then there is a dock. It might also refer to a single pier, or a wharf, or the old wooden structure that floats at your family cabin and from which you cast a trout line. Docks can be on a river, lake, or in the ocean. The word is also a verb, as written above, and the act of mooring or coming into contact with a structure or land from water.
When asked about the difference between Alaska ports, harbors, and docks, even Michael Lukshin, the Statewide Ports and Harbors Engineer, admits everyone does not use the same definition. To make things more complicated, because vernacular varies and reporting is inconsistent, there is not a precise count for all marine facilities ports, harbors, docks in the state. Lukshin estimates that there are more than five hundred marine facilities throughout Alaska. As for funding, every community has its druthers, but what Erickson, Lukshin, and the Alaska marine industry can agree on is that ports, harbors, and docks are critically important to commerce and travel throughout the state.
Funding and project momentum help achieve modernization, and absent local, state, federal, and corporate monetary support, business function could stagnate in the state. A handful of infrastructure and facilities offer a sampling of some of the differences and similarities comprising Alaska ports, harbors, and docks and a glimpse at the changes underway.
Seward—Alaska Railroad Dock Terminal: Seward is a community of approximately 2, people within the city limits and more than 2, on the periphery. The city was founded in as the ocean terminus of the railroad, now operating as the Alaska Railroad and owned by the State of Alaska. For transportation and commercial freight applications, there are three docks at the harbor: East Dock, West Dock, and the Coal Dock. The East Dock is the loading point for freight and also receives passengers from cruise ships when the West Dock is full.
The dock was originally feet by feet but was widened an additional feet on the east side to provide more room for trucks and equipment in The Seward Terminal applied for and received permits for the new construction, so by late spring Bencardino hopes to begin the next phase of a multi-million dollar project that requires state and federal budget allocations. The West Dock is deated for passenger ships as Woman from port Fairbanks Alaska seeking men as 3,plus in size, with a size of feet by feet, and is connected to the Dale Lindsey Seward Intermodal Facility. This is the dock that visitors may first glance at when arriving to town as the enormous pleasure cruise ships float alongside each other.
Seward—Small Boat Harbor: Established inthe small boat harbor in Seward is the primary destination for tourists and boating enthusiasts. The harbor has multiple dock floats labeled from A to P, X, and Z, and most sport fishermen, charter services, and water enthusiasts launch from this point. In terms of budget and upgrades to keep the harbor safe, the same problem exists in this Kenai Peninsula community as with all other Alaska harbor towns—funding. Seward is a busy place, particularly in the summer. The small boat harbor has 3, vessels registered with more on the waiting list.
The original infrastructure was built shortly after the earthquake. The wooden D-float was over fifty years old, and a rebuild began in September last year to remove the old float and install a new one. We still have three more docks that need to be replaced based on slip fee Woman from port Fairbanks Alaska seeking men and hope that in the next five years we can finish the float-replacement project. The Emmonak city dock before the erosion project was completed.
Equipment for improvements is staged in the background. Heavy equipment crowds the city dock in Emmonak. Competing against larger cities with a platoon of state legislative champions makes funding support a tenuous effort in rural Alaska. The City of Emmonak has a population of approximately residents.
The community is located at the mouth of the Yukon River, 10 miles from the Bering Sea. In contrast to a deep-water port, the Yukon River generates its own challenges with transportation and marine mobility into Emmonak. The benefits for such a port permeate the lifestyle and commerce of every family, he contends. The two phases of the port and dock facility construction is no easy or inexpensive task. The banks of the Yukon River in Emmonak serve as a city dock and constant reinforcement is needed from ongoing river erosion.
The community has asked the state to fund construction of an actual dock. In addition, the safety concerns mount as profiled in a support letter for the project sent to the Emmonak City Council from Bering Pacific Construction, revealing that every year ten to twenty feet of bank erodes into the Yukon, and continued erosion may damage the local tank farm and the Kwikpak Fisheries Processing operation.
Two workers look out over the Akutan Boat harbor.
Akutan—Boat Harbor: Port and harbor needs have few boundaries along the Alaska map. Akutan Island is located on the eastern part of the Aleutian Chain in the fish-laden Bering Sea, miles southwest of Anchorage. The island is home to Trident Seafoods, one of the largest frozen seafood processors in North America. Mayor Bereskin says when finished, the plan is to have room for up to fifty-seven large fishing vessels in addition to space and facilities for disabled vessels and repair services integral to commercial fishing and processing.
In unison with other Alaska city officials, Bereskin alluded to the fact that budgets are tight throughout the state, and the Legislature and state administration are the sources from which the next level of funding can be derived and the project completed.
Skagway Small Boat Harbor, the northernmost ice-free, deep-water port in Alaska. Over a hundred years ago, inSkagway became the first incorporated first-class city in the state. In the city deation was dissolved and another first ensued, with a restructuring and renaming to the Municipality of Skagway Borough. Skagway harbor is the economic highway to the community, and any growth to that infrastructure is a direct benefit. It is the northernmost ice-free, deep-water port in North America. Skagway is a year-round transportation hub connecting the state of Alaska to the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada, as well as northern British Columbia.
Money is as tight in Southeast, when it comes to port development, as any other region of the state. Skagway Small Boat Harbor has slips and two thousand feet of linear moorage.
Water is available at the dock year round, with a thirty-ton Sealift trailer for haulouts. The harbor is currently in the process of constructing a new facility within which marine vessels can conduct repairs in a warm, dry environment. Skagway has also recently contracted with an engineering firm for the expansion of the North and West side of the harbor.
This enhancement will add an additional thirty-two slips to the harbor, lightening demand for room and accessibility. Aerial view of the Port of Nome infrastructure. Nome—Harbor: The city of Nome is made from legend and lore and is possibly the most famous Alaska city when it comes to the rush of adventure, exploration, and gold.
The community is inching towards a population of four thousand, while its most essential service is likely its harbor. The Nome harbor infrastructure is somewhat complex because of its multiple sizes and de, yet it remains a precious safe Woman from port Fairbanks Alaska seeking men for ships when the temperamental Bering Sea forces mariners inland.
Nome has a small boat harbor that includes small dredges on barges as large as 90 to feet in length used for gold mining operations. This is where all large ships, such as research vessels and US Coast Guard vessels, some more than feet, come to refuel, re-stock, and weather a storm.
Last year smaller expedition cruises from Norway, Germany, and other foreign countries also came to town. In the US Army Corps of Engineers completed improvements projects, adding a 3, foot breakwater east of the existing Causeway and a foot spur on the end of the Causeway, making it a total of 2, feet.
However, an essential expansion that is being sought this year is the construction of a middle dock. This includes barges with fuel, produce and food supplies, construction containers, and equipment. The middle dock concept was originally envisioned to connect the inner and outer two docks with sheet pile and bumpers, but the price tag became too high. Nome decided to scale back its initial concept, now focusing on a new plus-foot dock positioned in the middle of the harbor.
Stotts has been working at the Nome Harbor for almost five years and has been in charge since the summer of At age twenty-seven, he may be one of the youngest harbormasters in the state. Shipping in general is increasing in Nome. As current and future projects go, nearly every community in Alaska with a port, harbor, or dock seeks upgrades and modernization, if not expansion. This mentality may be a matter of basic economic growth, or perhaps it can be attributed to Alaskans thriving on marine commerce and recreation. The list of state-partnered projects is comprehensive and indicates Alaskan officials also see the benefit of new and improved marine access and moorage.
The future of Alaska waterway transportation and freight delivery, as well as tourism and fishing, will undoubtedly rest in the hands of these policymakers and regulators, as well as the business owners who see the merit in continued investment. All will cost, and prioritization will be the word of the day. This first appeared in the May print edition of Alaska Business Monthly magazine. Welcome to the Best of Alaska Business awards!
We ask our readers to give us their input on the best businesses that Alaska has to offer, ranging from flower boutiques to ing firms. Throughout March, readers voted in record s, yet another indication after a trying year of how Alaskans take extra effort to support local businesses.
Tom Anderson. Water Matters. Across the Map. Adjacent to this dock is the 1,foot -long Coal Dock, used for coal loading. Tidal Wave of Projects. Current Issue July Read Issue. Latest News. From the Digital Edition. In This Issue.
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