October 2, 1987
Mr. Patrick Kirkpatrick
Society Expeditions, Inc.
3131 Elliott Avenue, Suite 700
Seattle, Washington, 99121
Dear Mr. Kirkpatrick:
The National Science Foundation is responsible for managing the United States Antarctic Program. This responsibility includes operation of Palmer Station, a United States research station on the Antarctic Peninsula, and implementation of relevant recommendations under the Antarctic Treaty System and derivative United States law.
In the past, occasional visits by tour ships have been accommodated at Palmer Station. During the 1986-1987 austral summer, such visits had a clearly inhibitive impact on the capacity of scientists in and around Palmer Station to conduct their research. Information provided by you and other organizers of tourist trips to the Antarctic Peninsula indicates an explosion of visit frequency and passenger capacity will occur during the 1987-88 austral summer. Up to one half the working days available for scientific research could thus be lost due to tourist visits.
Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting Recommendations IV-27, VI-7, and X-8 require tourist compliance with local station procedures in order to foster safety and environmental protection and to minimize disruption of scientific research and station operations.
The National Science Foundation has consequently decided to restrict the number of tourist visits to Palmer Station and the manner in which the permitted visits are conducted. These restrictions have been developed in consultation with a senior executive of your company. We believe they will allow your passengers the full benefits of their Antarctic voyage while simultaneously permitting United States scientists to complete their research projects.
I look forward to working with you during the coming season.
Peter E. Wilkniss Division Director