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Adventurers’ endless fascination with Alaska continues unabated in 2017, which already has brought individuals testing their mettle in the Last Frontier to the shores of our First City.

The timber industry isn't taking the hit. Instead, the industry can celebrate a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals majority opinion regarding the U.S. Forest Service's handling of the Big Thorne Project.

Richard Thomas Hall, 56, died May 12, 2017, in Ketchikan.
Velma June Cox, 91, died peacefully on May 6, 2017, in Port Angeles, Washington.
Charles Murphy James Sr., 80, died April 2, 2017, in Big Lake.
Sooner is better

August 30 might sound like it's a ways off.

It isn't; it's only six weeks, give or take three days, and as this summer is quickly fading away, there's no time to delay.

The Alaska Department of Transportation has opened the comment period for a new state ferry.

The ferry would be a day ship without overnight facilities for a small crew. It has been designed for efficiency in terms of cost to operate and operations.

This is the ferry design to replace the larger one Gov. Sean Parnell shelved in December. In the place of the large ferry, DOT hopes to build two smaller ferries for the same price or about $117 million.

Parnell's action prompted alarm throughout the community and the region months ago. But he promised to move ahead on the two ships quickly, staying on essentially the same timeline as the state had been with the large ship.

Concerns arose when no design was presented at the time of Parnell's action; Southeasterners wondered without a design how two ships might be bought for the price of one.

The small-ship designs aren't complete, but the preliminary design study completed by Elliott Bay Design Group gives an idea of what DOT has in mind.

The study report is available online at: www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/alaska_class.

Alaskans living in Southeast, where at least one of the small ships will operate, will be able to provide ample and likely helpful comment on the ship design.

The key will be to respond sooner than later because the deadline approaches quickly.