Living in the isolated areas of Lake Chelan is a gift. Up Lake Chelan is living with nature, its beauty as well as challenges. Remoteness involves access and for those living up Lake Chelan access most frequently involves the transportation monopoly of the Lake Chelan Boat Company.
During my twenty years managing Holden Village, Lake Chelan provided a feeling of captivity as well as freedom. The Lake Chelan Boat Company controlled our life resulting in a love/hate relationship. It was my decision to live up lake but for others this experience involves generations of family and business.
At times I felt deep gratitude toward the boat company and at times great resentment over their monopolistic attitude toward profits first with an interest and concern for those living in road less sections of the Lake a distance second. The boat company definitely provides a valuable service but in this country most services should be subject to competition to keep everyone honest with options for customers. In the 1970’s the U.S. Postal Service contract was given as the justification for maintaining the monopoly of the Lake Chelan Boart Company. Mail service is important for everyone up-Lake Chelan but this should no longer be used as the barrier for multiple transportation options servicing increased business opportunities.
I support the efforts of Cliff and Jim Courtney in their fight with the State of Washington in terms of freedom to provide lake transportation to enhance their business ventures in Stehekin. In the early years, the protection of the Lake Chelan Boat Company might have had some justification. Now the commercial activities up lake and the tourist traffic have increased. The Courtney’s operate several business ventures in Stehekin and at the very least they should have the option of providing transportation for their customers. Cliff Courtney doesn’t give up easily and I wish him well in his continued effort to open up additional options for transportation on Lake Chelan.