Here Comes Civilization: Alaska's Prince William Sound Braces for Non-Stop Tourism. (Currents)

By Deneen, Sally | E Magazine, May-June 2003 | Go to article overview

Here Comes Civilization: Alaska's Prince William Sound Braces for Non-Stop Tourism. (Currents)


Deneen, Sally, E Magazine


The cool mist feels like someone opened a refrigerator, and in the distance appears a tiny rocky island. As you approach closer by boat, however, you can see the brown rocks are alive. Steller sea lions lumber around the rock outcropping, while others lie still, looking like so many long sandbags. A sea lion lets out a single long deep-throated bellow that eerily pierces the air like an elephant's roar.

A sea otter pops its fuzzy head above water in the foreground of this stunning scene at Procession Rocks in Alaska's western Prince William Sound as skipper Alexandra Von Wichman watches from her 58-foot-long charter yacht, The Babkin. Two or three humpback whales swim far off to the right, near shore, their long backs curving above waterline, forcing Von Wichman to ponder an enviable question for people in the tourism trade. Should she give her half-dozen charter passengers a better view of the whales or stay within binocular's view of the sea lions, both rare enough to be listed as threatened or endangered species?

Having already admired humpbacks earlier on this multi-day trip past bridal-veil waterfalls and glaciers as thick as a house, the decision is clear. Sea lions. "They're my favorite," Von Wichman yells over the din of the motor. "They have so much personality. Sometimes, you'll be kayaking and all of a sudden you'll hear a snort, and you'll have four or five sea lions following your kayak. It scares the daylights out of you because you realize this thing is almost as big as you are."

Utter wilderness is what lucky visitors seek--and get--from the western reaches of labyrinthine fjords of Prince William Sound. But the feeling that you're traveling through a series of beautiful landscape paintings may erode now that the remote area expects its first marine gas station. To backcountry enthusiasts, the idea is as incongruous as finding a Starbucks at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Some lodges are also expected to go up, breaking the escape-from-civilization hypnotic feel of the place. Builders have sought permits from the state Department of Natural Resources for floating inns and convenience stores. At least eight lodges have received the go-ahead to be built in tidelands, says Pat Lavin, Prince William Sound project manager for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), which is urging protection of the Sound. Even the idea of a backcountry liquor store has been floated (but declined).

Fueling this interest is tourism, even though people are drawn to the place by its wildness. "I'm hoping it doesn't get so much of a boost that it's not going to be a wilderness experience anymore," says Linda Bassett, an Anchorage resident who works alongside Von Wichman in providing ecotours through Seattle-based Wildland Adventures.

In 2000, when the state completed a 2.5-mile-long road tunnel to the scruffy former military-camp outpost of Whittier (population 300), Prince William Sound suddenly became within a two-hour's drive of more than half of Alaska's 620,000 residents and any tourist landing at Anchorage International Airport. The state expects a 15-fold rise in visitors reaching the Sound via Whittier alone, rising from 100,000 to 1.5 million. Sport fishing is growing by eight percent a year, according to the NWF, and kayak traffic is up 7.5 percent a year. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Here Comes Civilization: Alaska's Prince William Sound Braces for Non-Stop Tourism. (Currents)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.