The Port Commission addressed safety concerns in the boat yard at its regular meeting on June 2.

The Commission is concerned about tour busses accessing the boat yard. Tour operators say it’s one of their main attractions.

Both tour bus operators, Alaska Waters and Gold Rush Tours, received a letter from Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch on May 12 stating they would no longer be able to tour the boat yard.

Both tour operators say they had already booked all of 2016. After a quick meeting with the city, they were allowed to resume tours for now, but the final decision to allow access or not has yet to be made. Jabusch said the Assembly is now awaiting a recommendation from the Port Commission.

Harbor Master Greg Meissner said he would rather not have any of the general public access the facility.

“It’s a matter of time in my opinion before something happens. Someone is going to back into something or somebody,” said Meissner. “ Someone could very well get hurt and we don’t need that. There’s a lot of big equipment moving around and again, it is an industrial yard. I see people think it’s neat to watch or interesting. It doesn’t necessarily mean that equals it’s ok to bring in general public and or tours.”

Carrie McCormack runs Gold Rush Tours and said leaving the decision up in the air puts her in a tight spot. She said Gold Rush will start booking for the 2017 season soon.

“All the prices, all the tours are all set pretty much in stone. So, to change anything would be really difficult,” said McCormack

McCormick said to leave the boat yard out of her two and a half-hour tour will have an impact.

Business Manager for Alaska Waters, Brook Leslie, agrees.

“It’s evident that the tourism industry also has a small but somewhat of an interest in the shipyard as well. If we weren’t able to go there, I don’t think it would stop our operation, but it would hinder our ability to show one of the highlights of Wrangell,” said Leslie.

The Port Commission is set to hold a workshop on July 7. The public is invited to attend.