Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 7:14 PM on Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Homer doesn't have infrastructure to accommodate cruise-ship visitors

We greeted the first cruise ship visitors on May 20, and I want to draw attention to how inadequate our infrastructure is to manage 1,000+ visitors. I drove past tourists walking six wide along sidewalk-less Main Street, then another 30 at the treacherous intersection with the Sterling Highway and finally out to the hyper-overcrowded Spit.

Improvements are scheduled, but I don't want to see the rate of cruise ship dockings outstrip those improvements. When our town feels overwhelmed, we risk losing other visitors (Alaska families, eco-tourists and visitors who plan for longer stays) and why we choose to live here. We upset the balance between the quality of visiting Homer and the quantity of visitors to Homer.

It is difficult to treat 1,000 people as individuals and give them the experience of Homer that we cherish. And if that number grows to 2,000? 8,000? What is sustainable to protect and develop the experience that draws visitors and residents to Homer in the first place?

Lastly, as we look forward, lets make sure we don't find outside companies setting up businesses that compete with our homegrown ones, as happens elsewhere.

Adele Groning