Maid of the Mist Opens Amid Uncertain Future

April 12, 2012 Updated Apr 12, 2012 at 6:38 PM EDT

By WKBW News

April 12, 2012 Updated Apr 12, 2012 at 6:38 PM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS (WKBW) Despite its long term future in jeopardy and under a cloud of uncertainty, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Niagara Falls, the Maid of the Mist, set sail for it's 2012 season on Thursday.

For many who live or visit the area, the Maid of the Mist is nearly as reliable as water over the falls, taking passengers to the foot of a natural wonder of the world. But as the boats start running this year, there may be some rough waters ahead.

"Docking and maintenance facilities for boats that operate on the U.S. side are actually located on the Canadian side of the border," Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said.

And with new ownership taking over the Canadian operations in 2014, the Maid of the Mist could soon have nowhere to dock.

Christopher Glynn is the President of the Maid of the Mist Corporation.

"I would say that it is uncertain as to how this will all play out. It is our intention to operate for a long period of time," he said Thursday.

The latest proposal, coming from Glynn himself, would be to build a dock on the American side of the border, just north of the Rainbow Bridge. No formal proposals had been made by Thursday afternoon.

"A dry dock would ideally need to be constructed by the close of the 2013 season," Glynn said.

But that is no small matter, requiring project approval, environmental studies,financing and more, all within a short period of time.

"We're optimists. We have a great history since 1846 and anything can be done, but it's just going to take some effort. And we're prepared to do that, to make those efforts," Glynn added.

And while the next step is garnering support at the State and local level, the Maid of the Mist does have the support of the closest elected official, the Mayor of Niagara Falls.

"The Maid of the Mist for many decades has been, next to the falls, the most popular tourist attraction in the City of Niagara Falls and we don't want to lose that," Mayor Paul Dyster said.