A Haines resident is planning to operate a shuttle this summer that will take tourists to hiking trails and travelers to and from the ferry terminal.
The borough assembly approved Jonathan Richardson’s commercial tour permit at its most recent meeting.
The approval came after Richardson made some changes to his application to ease the assembly’s and tourism director’s concerns.
Richardson removed from his application a guided hike in Chilkat State Park and plans to create a new trail on Mount Ripinsky.
“Every day it’ll be a ferry shuttle, and then specifically when the large cruise ships are in town, taking people to the Ripinsky Trail and Riley,” Richardson said. “But only people who are requesting that and seem to really know what they’re doing. And they can only do it if they start early.”
Richardson says the hiking destinations he’ll promote the most are Battery Point Trail and the Chilkat River Beaches, which are less challenging than Mount Riley and Ripinsky.
At a previous meeting, people raised concerns about the private property around the Chilkat River Beaches. Assembly member Margaret Friedenauer pointed out the lack of facilities in the area.
“There’s no establish trial, no facilities, no trash can, no signage,” Friedenauer said. “I don’t put that on you. But I know when I first moved here, it took me at least six months to get to know the area down there.”
Richardson says he plans to give visitors clear directions, including maps showing the public and private land.
The assembly approved Richardson’s tour permit unanimously. But they did add a requirement that the permit come back to the assembly after a year, so that any concerns that arise in the first season of operation can be addressed.