anan trail

A black bear approaches the trail to the Anan Wildlife Observatory. (Katarina Sostaric/KSTK)

The U.S. Forest Service is taking public comments on a proposal to build a floating dock at the Anan Wildlife Observatory, with the goal of improving safety for visitors.

Anan is about 30 miles southeast of Wrangell. About 3,000 people leave from Wrangell and Ketchikan each year to view bears and eagles at the creek.

Visitors arrive by float plane or boat and walk across a rocky beach to access the trail to the observatory.

The Forest Service proposal would add a 180-foot dock and gangway about halfway between the trailhead and the cabin. The seasonal floating dock could be dismantled and stored for the winter.

A new outhouse near the dock and a bigger outhouse near the trailhead are included in the proposal. It would also replace parts of the boardwalk trail with gravel.

In an earlier interview, Wrangell District Ranger Bob Dalrymple said construction would start in the spring to have the dock ready for the peak summer season.

“Assuming that the decision is to go ahead with it, we would be starting the design of it, and it would need to move forward through contracting,” Dalrymple said. “Of course, the funding is what really is needed to have that project happen, so that’s in the works as well.”

Some tour operators who responded to a scoping letter for the project last year were split on the issue.

The public comment period lasts until the end of the month.

Click here to view the proposal.

Click here to comment on the proposal.