AK - Loss Of Cruise Ship Business Upends Glacier Bay National Park's Budget
While national parks across the country are working on their reopening plans, staff at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska is working on a plan to survive the loss of roughly 70 percent of its annual budget, a loss tied to cruise ships not leaving port for the park's waters this summer.
The financial hit is unique in the National Park System, where parks typically receive the bulk of their annual operating funds through Congressional appropriations. Glacier Bay, though, receives just 30 percent of its roughly $4 million annual budget from Congress. The rest comes from cruise ship fees.
"This year we’re not expecting any revenues, though there is a possibility that there may be some cruise ships in southeast Alaska. There are so many things that have to happen for that to occur," Glacier Bay Superintendent Philip Hooge said last week during a call from his office. “I personally don’t have much belief that we will see a single cruise ship. I know communities here remain hopeful. Right now, there’s nothing."
The global spread of the coronavirus has been a crippling blow to all facets of the tourism industry. Many cruise ship lines have curtailed large segments of their normal sailings. The Princess line announced three weeks ago that it was canceling all Princess Alaska Gulf cruise and cruisetours for this summer.