Parks Group Cautions: Study Needed Before Any Proposed Increases in Cruise Ships in Bay

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   October 18, 2005
Contact:   Jim Stratton, NPCA, Phone: 907-277-6722, ext. 23


Parks Group Cautions: Study Needed Before Any Proposed Increases in Cruise Ships in Bay

- Statement by Jim Stratton, Alaska Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association:

We are pleased with today’s announcement from the National Park Service that it is not proposing to increase the number of cruise ships entering Glacier Bay in 2006, and caution that the Park Service needs adequate funding to complete baseline studies on impacts to park resources before they can consider the proposed 10 percent increase in vessels in 2007.

The Glacier Bay Science Panel has identified data gaps and recommended more baseline studies be completed next summer to measure potential impacts from increased vessels. Those studies must show that there will be no additional impacts to park resources, such as on air quality and to marine mammals, before the proposed 2007 increase can be implemented. Suggesting an increase now, before those studies are completed is premature.

Our primary concern is protecting park resources. If whales, sea lions, seals, and other park wildlife and resources can be protected, then the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) will have no objection to an increase in the number of cruise ships. To confidently make this determination, the Park Service must ensure full funding for the science program at Glacier Bay.

Successful litigation brought by NPCA in 1997 caused the National Park Service to write its Vessel Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement in 2002. That plan clearly states that any increase in cruise ship numbers “would be based on scientific and other information . . .” Any determination, such as the one proposed today by the Park Service will “rely on criteria that define the environmental and social conditions that would need to be met before any additional seasonal-use days were approved.” Without the additional studies the Park Service cannot know if the environmental and social conditions can be met.

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