Overhaul proposed for facilities at Alaska glacier - InfoNews

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Overhaul proposed for facilities at Alaska glacier

March 06, 2019 - 6:21 AM

JUNEAU, Alaska - A proposed overhaul of facilities at a southeastern Alaska glacier includes plans to expand parking, the visitor centre, and boat and dock offerings.

Officials outlined the proposed 50-year master plan for the Mendenhall Valley Glacier Recreation Area at a meeting Saturday at the visitor centre near Juneau, the Juneau Empire reported .

The plan still requires an environmental assessment that could be completed later this year.

Following the assessment, the estimated $80 million project will enter the design stage, said James King, director of recreation, land and minerals for the U.S. Forest Service. Officials hope to have design work completed by 2022.

"When this visitor centre was built, there were 23,000 visitors per year, and now there's over 700,000," King said. "It's time to adjust to serve the public."

Aspects of the overhaul have not yet been fully worked out, and when the project will be completed is dependent on funding, King said. The work would likely be completed in phases and funded by a mix of public and private sources, he said.

"Highest priority is restrooms and parking — that's where our most congestion and safety issues are," King said.

The projects currently proposed will likely be different as the plan progresses, said Dru Fenster, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Forest Service.

"Right now, it's important to understand nothing is in stone," Fenster said.

The plan also calls for a welcome centre with concessions, trail changes and a mobile centre at the glacier.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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