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Stehekin Ferry Service Cuts 4/29/2011
Ferry service to Stehekin and Holden Village will be scaled back and could be cut off in the coming weeks if North Central Washington continues to experience a cold spring.

The owners of the Lady of the Lake announced that they will not be operating a second ferry on the lake as scheduled beginning May 1, because the lake’s too low. They may also have to discontinue all service in the next 10 days, if levels continue to drop at the current rate. If the lake drops below 1,082.5 feet, the daily ferry service will have to stop operating until spring runoff sends more water into Lake Chelan. The large vessels can’t safely dock when the lake falls too low.

Scott Buehn, PUD power resource engineer said the lake is currently at 1,083 feet, and the lake continues to drop about one foot every 10 days.

The Chelan County PUD determines the lake’s level, and Buehn said the utility plans to continue to draw water from the lake and use it to produce energy in order to make room for the coming snowmelt.

Buehn said he doesn’t know whether the lake will hit levels that would force the ferry service to stop operating, but the weather forecast doesn’t call for significant warming in the next week.