JUNEAU – From Akutan to Ketchikan, Alaskans are sharing their personal stories in a new publication about what the Alaska Marine Highway means to those who rely on it.
“The Value of Alaska’s Marine Highway in 25 Stories” was recently published by five of the state’s regional development organizations in order to show how AMHS impacts residents in communities big and small.
“It’s a compelling narrative,” said Shelly Wright, executive director of Southeast Conference. “There has been so much talk about the bottom line when it comes to marine highways. This publication speaks to the value of the ferry system in a personal way, community by community. To me, this publication lets people understand that the marine highway, whether they know it or not, touches every single person in Southeast Alaska. These Alaskans’ stories weave together to form a single tale: Transportation is the lifeblood of coastal communities, and a strong ferry system is essential to local economic development, quality of life, and community well-being.”
AMHS serves as an economic engine for the 35 coastal communities that it provides service to in Alaska. Each year, it ferries more than 300,000 people, generating thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in commerce across Alaska. Since the extent of these impacts has never been fully measured, Alaskans who benefit from the state’s ferry system were asked to describe its value. The stories shared came from mayors, tribal leaders, business owners, tourism directors, fishermen, economic development experts and other community leaders.
“Angoon has no road connection, no barge service and no runway,” says former Angoon Mayor Maxine Thompson in the publication. “… It is the lifeblood of the villages.”
This publication, developed by Juneau-based Rain Coast Data, was a collaborative effort by Southeast Conference, the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference, the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District and the Prince William Sound Economic Development District.
The publication can be found on Southeast Conference’s home page at www.seconference.org/.