Forest Service awards new tour permits for Mendenhall area

(Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)
(Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

U.S. Forest Service officials have awarded 15 companies with lucrative rights to bring tourists into the Mendenhall Glacier National Recreation Area.

The Juneau Empire reports that among the companies announced Friday are Admiralty Excursions, World Cycling Tours and Alaska Weddings on Ice, which allows couples to get married on top of the glacier.

The Forest Service manages the Mendenhall area to support about 465,000 tourists each year.

The agency changed the way it offers its permitted “service days” to Juneau tour providers this summer by soliciting requests for its 239,000 service days. A service day is one tourist visiting the glacier for one day. The agency received almost 640,000 requests spread among 18 companies.

The Forest Service selected companies based on several factors, including their past performance and application quality.