The MHN Blog is a companion to the Maritime Heritage Network, a not-for-profit, comprehensive website of maritime heritage organizations, attractions, and activities in the Pacific Northwest. The blog highlights news, activities, and resources useful to the entire maritime heritage community. All views expressed are the author's own. Opposing views are welcome.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Controversial Park Concerts Canceled; Alaska Ferry A Pawn in Oil Drilling

The Seattle Parks Department announced today that the Summer Nights concert series planned for Gas Works Park at Lake Union has been canceled, according to a news release from Mayor Greg Nickels' office. The concerts were one of the targets of last Saturday's protest (See Feb. 25 entry) by various neighborhoods upset with Parks Department handling of various issues. Maritime heritage supporters participated in the protest.

A story in the Feb. 27 Seattle Post-Intelligencer demonstrates that water-borne transportation between Alaska and the lower 48 is still important enough to become a political pawn. State lawmakers in Alaska want to cut the once or twice weekly ferry service between Bellingham, Wash. and Skagway, Alaska. The fight is all about oil drilling on Alaska's North Slope, and Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell's efforts to stop it. I found this ferry episode interesting from a maritime heritage perspective, because Alaska, even in the age of 18-wheelers and air freight, is still highly dependent on steamship service begun in the 19th century. And it's important enough that a politician is willing to suggest sacrificing it to make a point.

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