A Skagway rafting company is seeking approval to build a floating dock on the west short of Taiya Inlet, about seven miles southwest of Skagway. Ocean Raft Alaska says the dock will be used to access a rainforest walking trail.
In an application to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Ocean Raft Alaska says it wants guests to feel like they’re stepping into ‘a remote Alaska wilderness setting in the middle of a fjord.’
The proposed floating dock and walking trail are located in a secluded area between Skagway and Haines. In the application, the company says there are no trails or roads connecting the area to either town.
During the summer, Ocean Raft Alaska plans to shuttle about 5,000 visitors to the trail in Zodiac-type boats. In the off-season, the 30-by-10-foot dock would be placed in storage.
To access the trail from the dock, Ocean Raft hopes to build a ramp and set of stairs, which could also be removed. From there, they plan to build a 160-foot suspension bridge leading to the start of the trail.
The trail would include a small graded path through the forest with switchbacks and rope handrails strung between trees. Ocean Raft says in the application that their goal is to be as ‘minimally intrusive’ as possible on the natural environment. They say ‘any trapping of modern society’ would detract from the wilderness feel of the tour.
The company is going through the permitting process right now. They applied to DNR for a 5-year permit to place the floating dock in state-owned tidelands. The deadline for public comments on that application closes Wednesday.
Representatives for Ocean Raft Alaska did not return requests for comment by air time.