JUNEAU (AP) Gov. Frank Murkowski said he plans to assign a state ferry to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve this summer.
Murkowski's announcement comes amid the state's legal challenge to the federal claim on submerged lands in Glacier Bay and other spots in Southeast Alaska. A U.S. Supreme Court verdict is expected in June.
The governor's plan has prompted speculation that the governor ''knows something about this verdict in June,'' said Mike Halbert, who chairs the marine facilities committee in Gustavus.
Robin Taylor, head of the Alaska Marine Highway System, said running a state ferry into the national park is an ''innovative opportunity'' for the state. He said discussions with the park service have been going well.
''There will be a (state) vessel, in my opinion, running into Bartlett Cove this summer. I just can't tell you which one,'' Taylor said.
The ferry may deliver passengers, but likely not freight or cars, at the park's dock in Bartlett Cove, three to a dozen times during the summer tourist season, he said.
The governor's idea, which he has shared with U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton, is to improve access for park visitors and Gustavus residents, said Mur-kowski spokesperson Becky Hultberg.
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