March 29, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 13

Blaquiere Point boat ramp plans will soon need public approval

Pending public approval of the plans, the Blaquiere Point boat launch rebuild will be a reality soon.

Drawing courtesy of Petersburg Ranger District
This drawing depicts the proposed concrete boat ramp and gravel parking area at Blaquiere Point, a popular boat launch for users of the Stikine River.

According to U.S. Forest Ranger Jason Anderson, plans for the proposed extension of the Blaquiere Point boat launch, are one step further along in the approval process.

“We should be going out with a preliminary design that the Forest Service has cooked up,” Anderson said.

Blaquiere Point is located at the intersection of Sumner and Dry Straits on the southeast corner of Mitkof Island, about 26.5 miles southeast of Petersburg.

The Blaquiere Point project is a partnership between Federal Highways, the Forest Service, the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and local governments. Petersburg officials in 2004, were granted an easement to the property for the State.

“With the preliminary plans, it will be good to get public comment and then feed that into the environmental needs,” Anderson said. “There will be a requisite public involvement some time in the future as well. Actually, very near future, I hope,” he added.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the public will be asked to weigh in on plans for the new boat launch, installation of a vault toilet, and expansion and improvements to the existing parking area.

“If there is interest out there, we would be happy to host an open house on the subject,” Anderson said.

The project could cost anywhere between several $100,000 and a few million dollars, he said. “We will definitely move a lot of rock, to make the area accessible,” Anderson said.

Blaquiere Point is an “enhancement project” that was piggy-backed on other Federal road projects, he said. But it will be paid for with Secure Rural Schools funds.

“I heard about it as an alternate launch site, but the first time I went out there the tide was out. I couldn't see how you could launch a boat from that site. I imagine during high tide, you can pull in there. But it does seem to provide access to the Stikine, to South Mitkof. It certainly has its advantages to people living in Petersburg,” Anderson said.

Blaquiere Point is a desirable location for a boat launch because of its close proximity to the Stikine River. It's much closer than Banana Point, said Public Works Director Karl Hagerman.

“The launch site is very rough,” said Hagerman. “It's very hard on vehicles and trailers getting down there.”

According to Hagerman, a Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) was set up years ago. The committee organized an effort to try to flatten out the site and make it a little more useable, he said.

“There has been a local interest in developing that site further,” Hagerman said. “The Forest Service saw that need to improve the area and Larry Dunham (of the Forest Service) was successful in getting the money … It was one of those projects that just kind of appeared, but I think it will be a very popular site.”

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