NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Over the past few months, it's been far from smooth sailing for the Maid of the Mist. The loss of Canadian docking rights threatened to ground the popular tour boats. But help could be coming from Albany.
Through 2013, the Maid of the Mist fleet will be allowed to dock on the Canadian side of the Falls. But after that, when Hornblower takes over in 2014, the American company will no longer be allowed to us the Canadian docks to house their boats, putting the iconic tourist attraction in jeopardy.
According to a spokesman for Governor Andrew Cuomo, with millions of visitors each year to Niagara Falls USA, the tour boat company is vital for the Buffalo-Niagara region. Now the state is stepping in to try and keep the boats sailing from the American side of the Falls.
John O'Hear, owner of Bedore Tours, which sees 20,000 sightseers each year, is thrilled by the news. He says his business would take a hit if Maid of the Mist boat vanished from NYS.
"Ultimately, yeah, it would definitely impact Niagara Falls, NY," O'Hear said.
The Glenn family, who owns Maid of the Mist, is eyeing the old Shoellkoph Power Plant as a potential docking station in 2014. A state spokesman says all options are being considered and nothing has been ruled out of the picture.
The Glenn family lost a bidding war in the spring to California-based Hornblower Cruise Lines, which will take over on the Canadian side and take over the Canadian docks. Without the docks, the Glenn family's long-running business would likely crumble.
The Glenn family would not comment. Hornblower has said they are also interested in taking over tours on the American side of the Falls once the Glenn family's contract is up.
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