Shoulder Season Vessel Use Planning

Boats cluster around the busy Bartlett Cove dock
Congestion at the Bartlett Cove dock

NPS Photo

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News Release Date: April 3, 2009

Contact: Allison Banks, Public Information Officer, 907-697-2230

What is the concern?


Charter vessel use in Glacier Bay is currently limited during June, July and August but not during the rest of the year. In 2005, charter vessel use in May and September (the “shoulder season”) totaled about 40 vessel use days. In 2008 it had increased to over 225 vessel use days as a result of changes in charter vessel management by the park.


As a result of this increase in charter vessel use, the Bartlett Cove public use dock, parking area and other facilities are becoming increasingly crowded. On busy days in late May and early September, the number of charter vessels in park waters may be twice the daily quota permitted during the June, July, and August summer season. Sea lions and seals have been observed scavenging discarded fish carcasses in Bartlett Cove more frequently. Remains from the additional fish being cleaned in Bartlett Cove are washing up on beaches attracting bears and may pose a safety hazard to park visitors.  Increasing vessel activity may impact the endangered humpback whale through the risk of collision, increased underwater noise and feeding disturbance.


Should “shoulder season” vessel use be managed differently, and if so, in what ways?


The NPS needs to consider how the growth in shoulder season vessel uses is affecting park resources and other park visitors, and develop strategies to address resource impacts. 


Some preliminary management questions include:


·         How is shoulder season vessel use changing (type of use by vessel type, areas where use is increasing, purpose for these uses, future trends)?

·         How is shoulder season vessel use affecting park wildlife?

·         How is shoulder season vessel use affecting other visitors?

·         What specific resource information is needed to inform park managers?

·         What type of use allocations for May and September may be necessary to protect park resources?

·         How can Bartlett Cove public facilities be used more effectively?

·         How can park vessel operators contribute to future management actions?


What part can you play?


Whether you are a local resident, fisherman, lodge or business owner or interested member of the public, changes in charter vessel services may affect you or your business. The NPS is soliciting comments regarding these and any other related issues. In addition, please contact us if you have questions or request to be on our mailing list.


It is also important for you to help us identify the effects various courses of action could have on you or your business. Please send your comments or questions to:  


Allison Banks

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826

E-mail to e-mail us

or phone 907-697-2611.


The NPS will hold a public meeting at the Gustavus Public Library, on May 20, at 7:00 pm, to further discuss these issues.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


(907) 697-2230

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