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Sitka leaders approve lease for cruise visitor attraction

August 26, 2021 GMT

SITKA, Alaska (AP) — The Sitka Assembly has authorized a 20-year lease of land to an Alaska Native corporation for development for cruise ship passengers.

The Assembly, voting 5-2, approved leasing 17 acres to Shee Atiká Inc., which plans to work with another company, Adventure Sitka, to develop the land with attractions such as zip lines, a salmon bake and a canoe launch, the Daily Sitka Sentinel reported.

The land is between the ferry terminal and Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal. Chris McGraw, who owns the terminal and manages Adventure Sitka, said development of the property will be an important part of handling an expected large number of tourists.

“The key to over-tourism is good distribution of guests,” McGraw said at Tuesday’s Assembly meeting.

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Karl Potts, CEO of Shee Atiká Inc., said the lease would generate $300,000 and $400,000 a year for the city.

Assembly member Kevin Knox raised questions about staffing at the site, citing difficulties businesses are having this year with hiring staff. But he said he would vote yes because of an expected influx of passengers next year.

“We don’t have a lot of options here,” he said.

Adventure Sitka and Shee Atiká Inc. were the only respondents to a city request for proposals to buy or lease the property.

Elements of the site plan will need approval by the local Planning Commission.