Most who saw it called it a blimp, but technically, it was an airship.
The environmental group Greenpeace inflated the floating billboard at a Douglas Island ballfield Saturday evening, then flew over Gastineau Channel to downtown Juneau and back.
Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar says sponges, corals and other deep-sea life are threatened by industrial fishing.
He says Greenpeace has studied the canyon ecosystem and is presenting its results to the council.
“It’s an incredibly important area ecologically as well as economically. If fact, they call it the green belt, it’s so productive. So unfortunately, there are no protections along this entire greenbelt, even though it’s so important,” he says.
“And what we want to see is … representative portions of habitat protected, set aside as an insurance policy to make sure we don’t make any really costly mistakes.”
He says Greenpeace received Federal Aviation Administration permission to fly over Gastineau Channel, where cruise ships sail and float planes fly.
Activist Georgia Hirsty says it’s powered by a small gasoline engine.
“The airship is a thermal airship, so it’s actually full of hot air. So a lot of people immediately associate the shape with a blimp. But it’s not a blimp and it’s filled with air. So it functions very similarly to a hot air balloon,” she says.
She says the German-made, nylon-skinned airship is one of four in the United States.
The ship deflates down to a size that can fit in a trailer.
Hirsty says the Juneau stop was the only one planned for this Alaska trip.
- Alaska Airlines pilots have reached a breaking point in negotiations with the company, and now have plans to picket outside Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The pilots plan to picket starting at 1 p.m. Monday outside the airport in Anchorage.
- Jenkins was taking a practice run through the class four rapids when a bystander filming the event, noticed another participant, Daniel Hartung, 64, of Indian Valley, flipped out of his kayak and became pinned under a log.
- The Tazlina is the first of two new Alaska Class ferries that the Ketchikan Vigor Alaska shipyard is building for the state. Its two halves are complete and welded together, and shipyard workers are busy getting interior spaces done.
- The Alaska Marine Highway is taking reservations for October through April sailings. The schedule changed so the Matanuska can get new engines.