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Longtime Angel Island Ferry Owner Bows Out From State Parks Bid Process

TIBURON (KPIX 5) -- The future of a family-run ferry business that has been taking people to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay for the last 50 years has entered into choppy waters.

Maggie McDonogh, the owner of Angel Island Tiburon Ferry, has decided to bow out of a battle to continue paying for ferry operations to the island.

The California State Parks Department put McDonogh's business up for bid. She said the 20-year contract being offered is untenable.

"There were a lot of things within the contract--many, many things. I couldn't will the company to my kids if I should pass away. Our taking care of their facilities on the island, which is their responsibility. Things like that just made it unacceptable," said McDonogh.

The business has been on a month-to-month lease with the state for more than two decades. KPIX reached out to the State Parks Department to ask about the terms, but didn't receive comments back before deadline.

Until the bid process is worked out, the Tiburon-to-Angel Island Ferry will continue to run as normal. She still looks to continue running charters and trips out of the same location, too.

But she's also hopeful that the state will see things her way, and she hopes that it stays this way for the next 50 years.

For most people, the only way to reach Angel Island is by ferry.

Her family's business has been operating in Tiburon for five generations. In all that time, McDonogh said she's never seen the support for her business that she's been getting lately.

"It's always humbling to have people come forward and tell you how much they adore your business. It's wonderful," she said.

In the meantime, a petition is circulating on McDonogh's behalf and is currently signed by more than 2,200 people.

Michelle Pfeiffer, the general manager at Sam's Anchor Cafe in Tiburon, voiced her support for McDonogh.

"She can't go. We can't let this happen. Everything in Tiburon is locally owned and by a family--not by corporations--and we really want to keep it that way," said Pfeiffer.

So far, the Blue and Gold Fleet is the only company to throw its name into the hat. There is currently no timeline for when the state will decide on the bid, and that's if it decides that it wants to move forward with the process at all.

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