Floor plan

Huna Totem shares its vision for Prince of Wales Island’s first cruise port

A slide presented at an August 13 public meeting hosted by Huna Totem Corporation and Klawock Heenya. The slide details plans for the Klawock wharf next summer. (Photo courtesy of Mickey Richardson).

The first cruise ships are expected to arrive in Klawock in less than a year. Local Aboriginal society, Klawock Heenya, is working with Huna Totem Corporation to build the first cruise pier on Prince of Wales Island.

But some residents are concerned about the possible impacts small and medium-sized ships could have on the small town’s limited infrastructure. The companies behind the wharf project held a public forum earlier this month. to share their plans for the Old Klawock Lumber Dock and hear residents’ concerns.

Two docks, housing, retail opportunities, entertainment venues, a “water theatre”, shore power connection, on-site accommodation and bus turnaround points – all part of what Huna Totem sees in the future of the former logging port of Klawock.

Huna Totem bought the property to bring cruise tourism to Prince of Wales Island, using a similar model as Hoonah Ice Strait Point.

Huna Totem Marketing Manager Mickey Richardson said the existing dock is a great place to start.

“What we’re trying to do is come up with some sort of floor plan or master plan that allows us to draw in things like the electricity, the location of the visitor center, the place where the bus will turn, and never have to move that (place) through the development phases,” he said.

Richardson said the first phase includes docks, utilities, a visitor center, retail, a food court and a place where buses can turn around. He said crafts, nature walks and other experiences will be available to people who get off the boats.

“Then, as we grow, we head to ‘Main Street, Alaska,’ as we like to call it,” Richardson said. “We will have an expanded departure center, (and), a reception center. We will have different areas of engagement depending on age. So we’ll call it more like (a) an “edutainment” type facility as part of the plan. Increased retail, fun water theater concept, which is a kind of fun, bigger and iconic experience for customers.

Richardson explained that phase two is where shore power would come into play. There is no specific timeline for when they will reach this phase.

“They’ll be able to turn off their engines, which is very, very, very cool,” he said.

There are currently four ships scheduled to stop at Klawock next summer. Richardson said a single boat could carry between 700 and 800 people.

The hundreds of additional people in the city of about 900 is what strikes a chord with some residents, who worry about how it will affect their city’s resources.

Some residents have asked what impact sewage from ships will have on Klawock’s waters.

Huna Totem is not affected – Richardson explained that sewage systems on ships must meet strict standards from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“All ships have their own sewage treatment system on board,” he said.

Klawock Mayor Don Nickerson said he was confident the vessels would not degrade local waters. He said shipboard facilities could be even better than some in the state.

“We actually did research on the sewage coming out of these ships, and you know, they have high-tech sewage treatment plants inside these ships coming in,” Nickerson said.

Nickerson also attended the meeting. He asked Huna Totem how a surge of visitors might affect emergency services in the small community. Nickerson says there is a duty team of eight EMS personnel and two police officers in Klawock.

Huna Totem CEO Russell Dick replied that there was no problem at Hoonah. He said the rise in the number of cruise passengers had put no pressure on local hospitals – except for severe cases, he said, the ships usually tend to their own passengers.

“They generally try not to put any pressure on existing health facilities,” Dick said.

Other Prince of Wales Island residents at the forum were concerned about the kind of role Indigenous artists and business owners would take on when it came to welcoming visitors. Dick said they plan to work with the Klawock native society to ensure artists are able to sell their wares and share stories and information with cruise tourists.

You know, as we work through this design process, we’ll also have more to share about how it looks, and we’ll be looking for feedback,” Dick said. “So it’s really on Klawock Heenya how we engage with local artists.”

Nickerson said he’s optimistic about the cruise industry coming to Klawock. He said he thinks it will be good for the community.

“I look at the salmon industry, you know, a lot of the salmon boats that come fishing in Alaska, you know, come from out of state,” Nickerson said. “Thus, the income does not stay in the communities. »

The first ship scheduled to call at Klawock is Oceania Cruise Lines’ ship Regatta on May 24.

Raegan Miller is a member of the Report for America body for KRBD. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps him keep writing stories like this. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to KRBD.org/donate.