Date: May 14, 2007
Subject: AQRC Reply Comments on Alpine Air Alaska request for permit renewal
Attention: Brian McMillen
The Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) has a few questions and comments in regard to the granting of a 10-year permit to Alpine Air Alaska for helicopter flightseeing and landings in Chugach National Forest.
Prior to granting a 10-year permit, AQRC would like to be assured that Alpine Air Alaska has been monitored by the Forest Service and that the Forest Service has determined that Alpine Air has conformed to the requirements of its existing permit. We are particularly concerned that the Forest Service know from its own monitoring that the permittee has observed the no-fly zones and distance requirements specified in the permit for mountain goats.
Secondly, we are concerned about possible conflicts among users which may be created at Spencer Glacier should you grant Alpine Air the 80 service days requested for that location. Possible conflict will come from the clients of Ascending Path which is permitted to lead ice climbing and hiking on Spencer Glacier for 100 service days. We are certain that folks engaging in those activities will not want to hear or see helicopters over head or landing. The other user group who will object to helicopter noise and presence are those visiting Spencer Glacier via the Whistle Stop program. That is being advanced as a way for both locals and tourists to experience a “touch of wilderness” which will not be achieved if surrounded by helicopter presence and noise. We recommend that the Forest Service strictly define flight paths, elevations and landing areas which will keep the helicopters out of the sight and hearing of these two groups.
Alpine Air Alaska’s website lists glacier landings on Lake George Glacier(and in Lake George Valley) which we understood was to be eliminated from their permit. Are these outside Chugach National Forest ? Secondly, the website also advertises taking a helicopter to an area in which you could have dogsled tours. Again, does this occur outside the boundaries of the Forest since it appears not to be included in its permit request.
Thank you for this opportunity to comment.
Susan Olsen, for the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition