Ketchikan’s bailiwick is boats.
In this case, ferries.
The first Alaska Marine Highway System ferries to ply the waters of Southeast Alaska were the Malispina, the Taku and the Matanuska. As miles passed through the system’s 50-year history, the number of ferries increased to about a dozen.
The status of state finances has curtailed the fleet’s service, and that service must be more efficient.
To that end, two new ferries are under construction at the Ketchikan Shipyard.
As they take form, the question becomes what to call them. The answer will be found by Alaska students in the sixth through 12th grades.
All of Alaska’s ferries are named for state glaciers, as directed by statute. Alaska has a total of 745 glaciers from which to choose, minus those already used to christen an Alaska ferry.
Students are being asked to write an essay in support of one name or another.
One of our favorites is Fog. Indeed, Fog Glacier is far out on the Aleutian Chain, but the ferries encounter fog wherever they operate in Alaska. But, if we want a Southeast glacier, then the Chickamin sounds appropriate. It is the sound of it that appeals; it isn’t Arthur or Brown, it’s Chickamin; it’s unusual.
This, however, isn’t a contest for us, but for the students who must choose a glacier to write about and submit their nomination by March 15. Additional information is available at www.FerryAlaska.com/contest.
Gov. Bill Walker, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and Department of Transportation Commissioner Marc Luiken will choose the winners.
We encourage students in Southeast, where the ferry system started in earnest, to get their oar in the water and enter the contest.
What an honor to name a ferry.
— Ketchikan Daily News,