Log ship site considered for Shoemaker, nearby islands
The Port Commission and Borough Assembly is looking into the possible use of Shoemaker Bay and two other nearby areas for moorage of a log ship.
Zimovia Strait is under consideration by the Alaska Division of Forestry for short-term moorage space for logs and a log ship, with Shoemaker Bay being a preferred location.
According to Borough Manager Tim Rooney, the state is looking to replace or improve some of the marine infrastructure for the timber industry to provide for a series of state owned marine moorage systems throughout the region – and because of Wrangell’s central location and future sales in the area – it makes sense for the moorage to be located in the Borough.
The sites considered so far have been located at Pats Creek, King George on Etolin Island, and East Point on Woronkofski Island. The preferred site, however, is near Shoemaker Bay Harbor.
“(Carol) Rushmore met with (Greg) Meissner regarding these sites and also with Mr. Brennan Eagle (Port Commission Chair) and Julie Decker and Daniel Blake (EDC Chair and Vice Chair) to get some additional feedback,” Rooney stated. “Ms. Rushmore has also been trying to coordinate with Mr. Paul Axelson, the primary contact with Southeast Stevedoring but their travel schedules seem to conflict. There is a tentatively scheduled meeting next week.”
According to Rooney, some concerns and suggestions from the Port Commission and others pertaining to a preferred site include the proposed moorage infrastructure conflicting with gillnetting gear, the area’s importance for gillnets, some trolling, recreational fishing and crabbing, concern about the bark fall-off and effects on the upland beach and crabbing habitat, and a suggestion to use the piling near City Park and moorage of the ship toward Sandy Beach where there was historic use by Japanese log ships.
Rooney also stated that the sites could be used by the US Forest Service as appraisal points for timber sales that could increase retained timber receipts from stewardship sales, and could also provide long shoring jobs in the community.
Meissner said that the mooring site for the ship, which could be between 300-400 feet in length, would be good for Wrangell because of the jobs it might produce.
“It would be great,” Meissner said. “I don’t know how many ships they are thinking of, or how long this plan might last, but if you bring a log ship in here a few times a year that is good money for folks here that are long shoring.”
Rushmore added that discussions with Southeast Stevedoring, and then potentially the Port Commission, are the next steps needed regarding the plan.
“I have to talk with Southeast Stevedoring first, after that I believe this is an issue we would handle at the Port Commission level, but that is down the road,” Rushmore said.