For years, our biggest complaint about coming to Stehekin has been the transportation options to get here. The Lady of the Lake boats travel at times which are great for day-trippers, but not particularly convenient for overnight guests – requiring early morning and late night travel, or even extra nights spent in hotels in Chelan.
Chelan Seaplanes helped to fill the void in boat service with their floatplane service to Stehekin. However, since they closed shop in 2017, folks have been forced to make do with the inadequate options with the ferry boat system.
Relief may be on the horizon!
Colter and Lindsey Courtney have started Backcountry Travel, LLC, and applied with the state UTC for a certificate to operate another ferry service on Lake Chelan. If successful in getting this certificate, they plan to base their catamaran boat in Stehekin – that means it will leave Stehekin in the morning, and Field’s Point mid-day – perfect for those driving long distances to get here!
Here’s the catch – the UTC has resisted repeated attempts to add a second ferry service on this lake, sighting lack of need for additional service. Colter and Lindsey need written support from as many people as possible to bring to the UTC in their attempt to bring this desperately needed service to Lake Chelan.
If you have had any of the following issues (or others that are not listed), I encourage you to follow the link on the Backcountry Travels website to fill out a support statement and send it to Colter and Lindsey. They need all support statements mailed to them by August 24, 2018.
UPDATE: The Lake Chelan Boat Company has decided to contest Backcountry Travels LLC’s proposal for a certificate. The next step is a hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. Updates will be posted to their website as this process moves forward.
Issues we have noticed with current ferry service:
- The boat does not have enough availability to meet demand.
- Guests have to shorten their stay in Stehekin in order to get boat tickets for their arrival and/or departure days.
- The boat schedule creates travel issues.
- Guests must travel in the dark early in the morning and late at night in order to make the ferry schedule times.
- Alternatively, they end up with additional costs to stay an extra night in Chelan to avoid the night-time drives. Since many hotels in Chelan are quite busy in the summer, they sometimes have to pay for a minimum of 2 nights even if they only wanted 1 night.