Bigger Boat Tours Coming to Voyageurs National Park
Here's an update to the Voyageurs National Park boat tours story. There currently are boat tours available, but not on the scale that will be possible thanks to the $1.4 million a congressman from Minnesota has directed to the National Park Service so it can build a 49-seat boat.
But the 50-foot-long boat won't be ready for duty until 2010.
“This funding restores one of the park’s signature services,” says Eighth District Congressman James Oberstar.
“Voyageurs has not had regular tour boat services for over a decade. This will allow park visitors, school groups and even private charters to take a one-day excursion and see the park’s dazzling scenery, abundant wildlife and important historical sites," says the Democrat. "There are so many back bays and historic gold mining sites that it will be hard for the park to fit everything into to one cruise.”
The park's rangers currently do offer summer interpretive boat tours, but as you can see from the picture on this page, the boats are not serious cruisers.
As for the new boat, a release says Congressman Oberstar worked with a broad-based group of partners to help secure funding for the boat. The money comes from 2008 Federal Lands Highway Category III - Alternative Transportation Program, and Rep. Oberstar just happens to be chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
The tour boat will be designed with the latest “green” technology, according to Rep. Oberstar, who says it will be "equipped with highly efficient engines that operate on bio-diesel fuel."
“The boat may be 50-feet long, but it will have a very small environmental footprint,” he says.