Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

CIA to open Portage Cove dock


April 4, 2019

This month, the Chilkat Indian Association expects to begin operating the long-dormant Portage Cove Dock for smaller cruise ships and private yachts.

The Chilkoot Indian Association purchased the dock from Klukwan Inc. last February using a bank loan they will repay with Federal Highway Administration tribal transportation funds during the next 10 years.

Tribal administrator Harriet Brouillette said that CIA hopes to begin operations this month, but is still waiting on a float, hiring a harbor master and finalizing a “menu” of options to offer clients.

“We should get the float back from Hoonah and get it hooked up and ready to roll, but it’s definitely going to be a slow start,” Brouillette said.

“What we’re doing right now is trying to figure out what people are looking for when they arrive in Haines with a nice fancy boat,” Brouillette said. “We’re just trying to figure out if yachties want a private shopper, or someone to run errands, rent a car.”

The CIA is currently in negotiations with a small cruise company, and hopes to sign a final agreement by April, Brouillette said.

The largest vessel the port can handle is roughly the size of the Grand Princess ship, which usually comes once or twice a year, according to Haines Harbormaster Shawn Bell. The maximum ship capacity is around 3,000 passengers.

Moorage rates will be guided by what the borough charges for cruise ships— from $2.25 a foot to $4.50 a foot depending on vessel length, every 24 hours with a minimum charge of $80—but Brouillette said that the CIA intends to offer more services and privacy, which could drive the price up.

The building, which was assessed at $664,400, has been repaired to functional condition, and the CIA hopes to transform it with local native art over the next five years.

“We’re not looking to get rich this year,” Brouillette said. “What this is doing is keeping waterfront property in tribal hands.”


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