Bid to be next boat launch biz

Nov 19, 2020

A Marine Services tractor pulls a boat out at the Deep Creek State Recreation Boat Launch site in Ninilchik.
Credit Ninilchik Chamber of Commerce

Alaska State Parks is looking for businesses to provide tractor-assisted boat launch and retrieval services at the Anchor River and Deep Creek recreation areas.

Applicants can bid on contracts now through Dec. 14. Contracts last five years, with the chance for renewal.

One business will typically provide tractor services out of each location. The previous contracts were awarded to Marine Services for Deep Creek and Anchor River Enterprises at Anchor River, said Jack Blackwell, superintendent of the Alaska Division of Parks and Recreation.

"Those permits have terminated and we are advertising a chance for businesses to bid on this," he said.

The program has been going for three decades. Beaches at Anchor River and Deep Creek are not easy launch spots, Blackwell said, and the tractors help a good deal.

Boaters pay tractor operators directly. Blackwell said prices are negotiated with the state, but it tends to be around $70 per boat.

Even if you’re not interested in applying, Blackwell said the launches themselves are fun to watch.

"If you haven’t seen the tractor launch operations, I would encourage people in the summer to drive down to Deep Creek or Anchor River and just stop and stand back well out of the way, but it’s real interesting to see how this all works," he said.

Permits are reviewed through a public process. Blackwell says they’ll also look at permits for one business to operate at both locations.

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