Marine highway turns 50

By RUSSELL STIGALL

Morris news Service – Alaska

Just a few years after the half-century mark of the state it serves, Alaska’s Marine Highway System hits the big five-o.

The marine highway system has gone through a number of changes since it first went into operation with the M/V Malaspina in 1963, Jeremy Woodrow, spokesperson for AMHS, said in an email interview. Serving areas beyond Southeast communities was an early step. 

The vessels now visit the ports of 33 Alaska communities in Prince William Sound, Southcentral Alaska, Kodiak and along the Aleutian Chain. And AMHS makes regular runs to Bellingham, Wash., and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

The ferry system also has grown beyond its original vessel; AMHS now sails 11 vessels in its fleet, including three built in the last decade — the open-deck Lituya and the controversial fast ferries Chenega and Fairweather. 

The Alaska Department of Transportation  & Public Facilities plans to add one or two more ferries to the system over the next
few years.

“AMHS is always striving to provide a reliable level of service and looking toward improving service for travelers to and within Alaska,” Woodrow said. “This will be carried forward as the system moves into another decade of service, with the expectations of many more to follow.”

AMHS plans to celebrate its milestone as host to community events and contests, and to share its history online through photos, maps and stories throughout 2013. A special 50th anniversary web page will receive regular updates also.

As part of the celebrations, passengers can sign up to win anniversary golden tickets worth up to $500 in travel. A winner will be drawn monthly.

To find out more and to sign up for a chance to win an AMHS golden ticket visit www.ferryalaska.com/50years.

Those interested also can find announcements and share their Alaska Marine Highway stories on Facebook at facebook.com/AlaskaMarineHighway.

Russell Stigall is a reporter for the Juneau Empire.


More in News

A school closure announcement from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.
Schools closed for Tuesday in Homer, Anchor Point

Winter storm continues through Tuesday morning, with high winds.

Coast Guardsmen and state employees load the Together Tree bound for the Alaska Governor’s Mansion on a truck on Nov. 29, 2021 after the Coast Guard Cutter Elderberry transported the tree from Wrangell. (USCG photo / Petty Officer 2nd Class Lexie Preston)
Governor’s mansion tree arrives in Juneau

No weather or floating lines could stay these Coast Guardsmen about their task.

The Kenai Community Library health section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. The Kenai City Council voted during its Oct. 20 meeting to postpone the legislation approving grant funds after members of the community raised concerns about what books would be purchased with the money, as well as the agency awarding the grant. The council will reconsider the legislation on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council to consider library grant again

The council earlier voted to postpone the legislation after concerns were raised about what books would be purchased.

Schools are delayed two hours Thursday, Dec. 9.
Two-hour school delay Thursday affects Homer, Anchor Point, Ninilchik schools

Bus routes and classes will begin two hours later than normal Thursday, Dec. 9.

Diamond Ridge Road near Homer, Alaska, had been plowed on Monday morning, Dec. 5, 2021, but visibility was limited. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
School district announces 90-minute early release today.

Winter storms makes driving difficult on southern Kenai Peninsula.

A reader board sign on the Sterling Highway announces COVID-19 testing and vaccines at the South
Anchor Point man dies of COVID-19

Death rate of COVID-19 is now 17 since start of the pandemic.

Rep. Chris Kurka, R-Wasilla, leaves the chambers of the Alaska House of Representatives on Friday, March 19, 2021, after an hour of delays concerning the wording on his mask. On Monday, Kurka announced he was running for governor in 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Wasilla rep announces gubernatorial bid

Kurka said he was motivated to run by a sense of betrayal from Dunleavy.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Bycatch becomes hot issue

Dunleavy forms bycatch task force.

fund
Study: PFD increases spending on kids among low-income families

New study looks at PFD spending by parents

Most Read