Museum features exhibit on Alaska's postal service hovercraft

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A model of the hovercraft used to haul mail on the lower Kuskokwim River is being featured in an exhibit at the postal museum in Washington, D.C.

Postmaster General Jack Potter, Sen. Ted Stevens and Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lawrence Small spoke at an opening ceremony Thursday morning.

Exhibitions manager Pat Burke said museum staff heard of the hovercraft, which has been operating since 1997, and decided it would be a good fit in the museum's Hall of Transportation.

The hall contains several restored aircraft, a stage coach, a rail car and a mini three-wheeled van-all used to deliver mail.

The hovercraft exhibit sits just a few feet from Charlie Biederman's well-weathered dog sled, with which he carried mail between Eagle and Circle from 1922 to 1938.

The hovercraft serves Bethel and seven other villages along the Kuskokwim in an effort to provide universal service to Americans, Potter said.

It is owned by Alaska Hovercraft, a joint venture of the trucking and air transport company Lynden Inc. and CIRI, the Anchorage-based regional Native corporation.

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