B.C.-Alaska border crossing gets overnight telephone check-in
Residents of Hyder, Alaska, and Stewart, B.C., can now pick up the phone for a late night crossing
The tiny border crossing between Hyder, Alaska, and Stewart, B.C., will remain open overnight once again, but anyone crossing into Canada will have report in by telephone first.
Canadian officials decided to shut the crossing between midnight and 8 a.m. PT earlier this year as a cost-cutting measure, raising concerns amongst the locals.
The two communities have lived side-by-side for about 100 years, sharing everything from emergency services to bars.
Stewart, which is across from Alaska's Misty Fiords National Park, calls itself North America's most northern ice-free port. It has a population of about 300, while about 60 people live in Hyder.
Earlier this year residents on each side of the border were upset over a decision to close the border at night, noting some need to cross the border before 8 a.m. for work and emergency services could be blocked.
Now Canada Border Services Agency says people can pick up the phone and flash their passport on video if they want to cross at night.
CBSA is describing the new system as a pilot project and says it will assess if the telephone reporting system meets the needs of both communities.
Stewart resident Angela Brand-Danuser has concerns about that approach.
"It's going to provide an opportunity for some people to drive right through and then the CBSA is going to go, 'See? We tried, it didn't work, people were breaking the rules, so we have to close it again.'"