Forest Service celebrates historic Marine Highway partnership
May 07, 2013
On this 50th anniversary sailing, she will also be talking about the 47-year history of the Forest Service partnership with the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS), a partnership that continues today.
It was early in the summer of 1963 when the USDA Forest Service was first invited to provide informational services aboard the new ferry, MV Malaspina. D. Robert Hakala, a visitor information specialist, and the interpretation and education chief, Jack Culbreath, began a program that involved customer service, visitor contact, and educational programs for riders of the ferries.
“We have been invited to participate in some of the 50th anniversary events and are very excited about meeting the riders going around Revillagigedo Island and in the Tracy Arm sailing out of Juneau,” says Duncan.
Traditionally, interpreters have staffed information desks, given informational programs, helped ferry riders spot wildlife, and directed them to areas of interest on shore.
This season, the Tongass National Forest continues the tradition, aboard the MV Matanuska, from Juneau to Prince Rupert and back twice a week. The program is slimmer than in the past due to budgetary limitations, but the 47-year partnership is alive and well.
Ferry riders will have access to a fully supplied information station, thematic interpretive talks, youth programming, and opportunities to learn about the Tongass National Forest while floating through Southeast Alaska.
“Budgetary cutbacks are a reality we have to face,” Duncan says. “I feel strongly that the interpretive programs and information we provide about public resources and Forest Service management is important to our customers on the ferry. We appreciate the opportunity to continue the ‘Sail along with U.S.’ program we have been providing for so many years.”
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