Glacier Bay National Park Officials Propose To Hold 2012 Cruise Ship Quotas Level With 2011

Glacier Bay officials are proposing to hold 2012 cruise ship arrivals at 2011 levels. NPS photo.

Glacier Bay National Park officials are proposed to hold the line on cruise ship quotas in 2012 at 2011 levels.

The quotas, which can draw political heat from Alaska officials at times, date to 2003, when the Park Service completed a Vessel Quota and Operating Requirements Environmental Impact Statement that gave the park the authority to set annual cruise ship quotas.

Under that 2003 Record of Decision, the determination of whether to increase seasonal use-day quotas for cruise ships is to be based "on criteria that define the environmental and social conditions to be met before any additional seasonal use-days are approved."

In 2004, an independent Science Advisory Board was appointed to assist in determining and recommending studies that better define these environmental and social conditions. In 2005, the SAB made recommendations for priority research and several studies were implemented.

Given the ongoing nature of these studies assessing the potential impacts from cruise ships on biological and sociocultural resources, Glacier Bay Superintendent Susan Boudreau has proposed that the 2012 seasonal use-day quota for cruise ships remain unchanged from the 2011 levels.

For the June, July, and August summer season the quota would be set at 153 use days. The May and September shoulder season quota would be set at 92 use days. The year-round daily quota for cruise ships remains at two per day in accordance with the 2003 VQOR EIS ROD and existing regulations.

The NPS is soliciting public comment on the proposed day use quota. Comments will be accepted until close of business on August 15. You may read more about the proposal and submit comments by visiting the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/

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Sometimes we may have to take some hard decisions to protect our environment.