- Associated Press - Thursday, July 9, 2015

ST. GEORGE, Alaska (AP) - A community development group is working to make St. George, a village on the island of the same name in the Bering Sea, a little less lonely with a new ferry service between the town and St. Paul Island, 40 miles away.

The Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association has been working on the ferry for some time, according to KMXT-FM. Before the ferry, there was only one flight a week to or from the island and bad weather meant that plane didn’t always come.

APICDA CEO Larry Cotter says when one of the group’s fishing boats, the Atka Pride, came up for sale, the organization decided to instead turn it into a ferry.

“Given the fact that we had the vessel and given the fact that the situation in the community is pretty darn desperate. Without a functioning harbor they’re having to fly all of their food into the community,” Cotter said. “Putting the vessel to work just made a lot of sense.”

Passage on the ship will be $300 each way, but only $100 for Pribilof residents.

The cost to operate the ferry for the summer is expected to be about $200,000 and Cotter said they don’t expect to break even.

Saint George Mayor Pat Pletnikoff said the ferry will be a great resource for the island.

“It’s a small effort, but it’s huge in implication for what kind of service Saint George needs to survive. And we’re grateful to APICDA for that,” Pletnikoff said. “We’re grateful to APICDA for recognizing that Saint George deserves an opportunity.”

Ferry service is already under way. Cotter said if the program goes well, he’d like to see a better vessel take over the runs from May to September.

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Information from: KMXT-FM, https://www.kmxt.org

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