The recent proposal to allow heli-skiing on state lands in the Whitefish Range seems to be getting folks stirred up — enough so that the comment period has been extended to October 10.
A recent article in the Hungry Horse News provides a good overview of the the proposal and the circumstances surrounding it.
Comments should be directed to:
Special Uses Forester
Stillwater State Forest
P.O. Box 164
Olney MT 59927
Or by email to email@example.com
A great many of the comments submitted so far are from people concerned about wildlife disruption and other impacts in a particularly sensitive area. The following email, sent by Richard Andersen on September 30, is a good example . . .
Special Uses Forester
Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
As a native Montanan and life-long resident of the Flathead, I am very concerned to know that helicopter skiing is being considered for the Whitefish Range.
The east side of the range is part of the North Fork ecosystem, the most intact ecosystem in the lower 48 states. I am not opposed to recreation in the national forest, however helicopter skiing will bring noise pollution and disruption to animal habitat.
Our neighbors to the north have realized that (according to international awareness group Global Nature Fund) . . .
Heli-skiing threatens the Canadian Wilderness
The growing popularity of heli-sports increasingly threatens Grizzly bear and the last Mountain Caribous living in the Canadian wilderness. Heli-sports such as heli-skiing, heli-hiking as well as snowmobile and all terrain vehicle tours are a real threat to the Canadian animal and plant life.
I am a resident of the North Fork and have been since 1992. The area is struggling to find a balance between responsible development and ecosystem viability even before the introduction of this heli-skiing threat.
I am not opposed to recreation on the North Fork, but there are many ways to enjoy it (cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling) that are not accompanied by the audible and visual pollution and the increased frequency of avalanches which we would experience if heli-skiing is allowed.
Please represent me in opposing this policy change.