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  • Whittier Launch ramp upgrades soon

    I sent an e-mail to Whittier's City Manager asking when the east launch ramp (potholes, rebar sticking up) was going to be repaired. Within minutes, he sent me a response. The following is his response (with his permission)......

    "Thank you for your e-mail. Your input is very constructive and much appreciated.

    Repairs to the east ramp are currently underway. We are continuing to prep the site and are waiting for a favorable combination of tides and weather to pour the concrete (hopefully Wednesday and Thursday of next week). It is a high priority project for us; we are certainly aware of and concerned by the condition of the ramp.

    By the way, the east ramp is scheduled for complete replacement within the next couple of years and we plan to have a tractor-assisted launch operation at the head of Passage Canal next year.

    Mark Earnest"

  • #2
    Does that mean there is only one ramp available right now? That might make me change my mind about going down there Sunday. Weekends are bad enough but with one out of comission, it could get really ugly.

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    • #3
      Ramp

      I'm not sure what he means when he says they continue to prepare the ramp. I was there last Monday and if any preparation had been done, it was not obvious. I can't imagine them closing it down altogether, but you never know.

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      • #4
        From the Harbormaster re:ramps this weekend

        "The east launch ramp has been an ongoing issue this year. The people we had last year left us in the beginning of the season and we have struggled ever since. The ramps are going to be further hampered this weekend as we fix the holes in them. There will be more coverage as we gain another employee this week and hopefully this will help with the traffic flow. "

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        • #5
          I didn't see any "preparation" myself either this past weekend. Still tragic, and launch fees up to $20 now -- weren't they $10 last year and $15 earlier this year? Hopefully it gets repaired soon, the most dangerous place for my boat in the Sound is the ramp in Whittier.

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          • #6
            The launch fee is $20???!!! WOW! Are they trying to price everyone away from Whittier? Hopefully, that will go back down when they have paid for the repairs. (yes, I believe in Santa also)

            Let's see, with tunnel fee, launch fee, parking fee and the price of gas, that makes for some very expensive fish per pound. If the people in Whittier actually want us to come over there they had better get their heads out of their butts, their hands out of our wallets and do something about the costs. For now though, it's back to Seward for me.

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            • #7
              It is way cheaper to trailer a boat to Seward and pay for extra gas for a truck than to run the boat further out to fish from Whittier. Launching fees, parking,tunnel fees and you are into $50 before launching.
              Seward is $5 to launch and $5 to park.
              I do believe the Whittier Nazi's have priced themself out of business.

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              • #8
                It's a wash

                I just did the math for Seward vs. Whittier and for me it's pretty much a wash. I save about $40 in truck fuel by going to Whittier, but spend $20 toll so that cuts the savings to $20. I pay more for parking at Whittier, but $5 for parking in Seward is per day so there's not a lot of difference there. $20 to launch in Whittier and only $5 in Seward, but I only launch once in Whittier because I stay out for multiple nights and in Seward you launch daily (not in all cases) or you pay for a slip for the weekend (maybe $13/night). I spend about the same in boat fuel either place. I have to go further out of Whittier for the fish, but I come into the Seward harbor every night so there's wasted fuel. Then there's the wear on the truck hauling the boat over the mountains to Seward. For me it all comes down to going to Seward if I want better fishing and services, down to Whittier if I want better scenery, calmer (generally) water, nights on the water, shrimp, and less time on the road. Still, Whittier is not justified in charging what they do for the services/quality they provide. If it keeps up, and even if they provide better services, their reputation will be so shot that few people will consider going there.

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                • #9
                  PWS

                  It's not all about fishing, for us anyway. Whittier is just a stepping stone, We leave the boat in the yard there. It's about nights on the boat and sleeping good with no phone ringing, Getting up in the morning and going fishing or maybe not, just taking it easy. Keeping shimp pots out, loading up on shimp and halibut in the freezer for the winter. We make a trip of it not just running and running to catch fish. I know people that do that and all in one day.

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                  • #10
                    It's my understanding that the majority of Whittier residents never wanted the tunnel opened up to cars in the first place. Also, not much money actually stays in Whittier even now that the tunnel is open. A lot of the tunnel traffic simply drives in and leaves either on a ferry or on a recreational boat without actually dropping much cash along the way. Before you launch, do you buy your groceries, gas, bait, and fishing gear there, or are you stocked up before you hit the road? Without buying your consumables in Whittier you don't help build their tax base. Of course, it may be a chicken-or-egg situation there. There's not much for selection and the prices are generally higher.

                    But the increase in traffic has demanded an increase in services. The area between the tracks and the water is now paved. There is new water and (I believe) sewer facilities in the waterfront area. There are more free dumpsters available. There has been a lot of money spent to find solutions (as yet not implemented) for the congestion at the boat launch ramps caused by and mostly affecting recreational boaters coming through the tunnel.

                    I do think the fees for the tunnel, launching, and parking charged by the State, City of Whittier, and private commercial enterprise are excessive for the current level of services provided. I really don't like the idea of charging tolls on public roads. I think the launch facilities are not only undersized for the amount of traffic, but they have been allowed to degrade to conditions nearing dangerous. And, allowing the only available parking facilities, which are so far away from the launch ramp, to operate without requiring a shuttle service (at least on busy weekends) only adds to the congestion at the boat launch.

                    I know that there are plans in place to improve the overall experience for recreational boaters in Whittier, including upgrading the existing dock, ramp, and harbor facilities and building new facilities at the West end of Passage Canal. But if the cost continues to climb out of control, there will be less and less boaters coming in to experience this "new Whittier". But that may be part of the master plan... (please refer back to my first comment)
                    Originally posted by northwestalska
                    ... you canít tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

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                    • #11
                      It's my understanding that the majority of Whittier residents never wanted the tunnel opened up to cars in the first place. Also, not much money actually stays in Whittier even now that the tunnel is open. A lot of the tunnel traffic simply drives in and leaves either on a ferry or on a recreational boat without actually dropping much cash along the way. Before you launch, do you buy your groceries, gas, bait, and fishing gear there, or are you stocked up before you hit the road? Without buying your consumables in Whittier you don't help build their tax base. Of course, it may be a chicken-or-egg situation there. There's not much for selection and the prices are generally higher.

                      The increase in traffic since the tunnel opened has demanded an increase in services. The area between the tracks and the water is now paved. There is new water and (I believe) sewer facilities in the waterfront area. There are more free dumpsters available. There has been a lot of money spent to find solutions (as yet not implemented) for the congestion at the boat launch ramps caused by and mostly affecting recreational boaters coming through the tunnel. These improvements are expensive and it's unrealistic to expect the 100 or so year-round residents to pay for them. So we who use these facilities must pony up.

                      But, I do think the fees for the tunnel, launching, and parking charged by the State, City of Whittier, and private commercial enterprise are excessive for the current level of services provided. I haven't ever liked the idea of charging tolls on public roads. I think the launch facilities are not only undersized for the amount of traffic, but they have been allowed to degrade to conditions nearing dangerous. And, allowing the only available parking facilities, which are so far away from the launch ramp, to operate without requiring a shuttle service (at least on busy weekends) only adds to the congestion at the boat launch.

                      I know that there are plans in place to improve the overall experience for recreational boaters in Whittier, including upgrading the existing dock, ramp, and harbor facilities and building new facilities at the West end of Passage Canal. But I will say that if the cost continues to climb out of control, there may be less and less boaters coming in to experience this "new Whittier". But then again, that may be part of their master plan... (refer to my first comment)
                      Last edited by Rod in Wasilla; 07-12-2006, 00:45.
                      Originally posted by northwestalska
                      ... you canít tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

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                      • #12
                        Total Fare

                        $60 for myself and the buddies to overnight Friday to Saturday. Silver fishing outside Main Bay was very good. The experience of boat camping on the Sound also unmatched as always.

                        A good point is made here about supporting the Whittier economy (or not). I usually fuel up in Girdwood, and stock up / gear up in Anchorage on my way out. The reason? Poor and limited ramp facilities and the time spent monkeying with it makes it a place I just want to get through quickly -- all I think is get in line, get out, and relaxation will start once you clear the harbor. Seward is so slick by comparison, I buy bait, gas, tackle, food, everything in town -- shopping in the harbor bait shop is part of the enjoyment, and the relaxation starts somewhere around Trail River. It helps a lot to know that launching won't include any drama...

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                        • #13
                          Whittier

                          I firmly believe that if the city could charge you for breathing air, they would. We too try to pass through Whittier as quick as possible. They have been improving the place but it seems they raise the prices much faster. For us, a three day trip is the minimum to be worth it. Four or more days is better.

                          The Chenaga Corporation ownes land in Shotgun cove and has expressed a desire to develop it into a marina. What they need, is the for a real road to get constructed from Whittier to Shotgun. The forest service was headed in that direction when the funding got pulled. Not sure where it stands now.

                          It would be nice for Whittier to get some competition for marine services.

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                          • #14
                            It is what it is. I guess if enough of us quit going there, they'll do something, but it's going to take more than $60-$70 to keep me away from the incredible PWS experience. Hell, I pay $50 (not including beverages) just to go chase a little ball around for 5 hrs. BTW...Has anyone been asked for a reciept after launching? I asked for a reciept at the harbormaster and they told me I wouldn't need one. It made me think they were pocketing my money. of course, that would never happen, right??

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                            • #15
                              Skydiver - Parking is per day

                              Skydiver, the $20 parking fee in Whittier is per day, midnight to midnight. If you go our Monday afternoon and come back Tuesday before midnight you owe $40 bucks. (after midnight you owe $60 bucks, in Seward you would owe $15 instead of $60) I love PWS but I don't understand thinking you have to come back in every night out of Seward. There is a wonderful anchorage called Taz basin, which is a better anchorage than Surprise cove or Disc Island in the sound. Taz basin is the same distance out of Seward as Disc Island is out of Whittier. I have also anchored in Agnes cove and in Paradise cove out of Seward. Agnes cove is close to Pony cove and we often have the place to ourselves until about 7 or 8 a.m. before the boats from Seward start to get there.

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