Keep heliport out of recreation area

Letters to the editor

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2001

If a helicopter takes off from a forest and nobody hears it, did it ever really take off? Proponents of a satellite heliport at Dredge Lakes-Mendenhall Glacier recreation area seem to be under the impression that large numbers of take-offs and landings in that area will impact virtually no one and no thing. The area under consideration is heavily used for recreation, not only by tourists, but also by local hikers, mountain bikers, birders and fishermen, to name a few.

One of the most important attributes of Dredge Lakes is peace and quiet (note lower case spelling). I believe that the noise from a given number of helicopter take-offs and landings would have a much more significant impact in a quasi-wilderness setting than in an urban or suburban zone, where a much higher ambient noise level exists, with or without helicopters. Put another way, I expect a bit of noise in my suburban neighborhood.

I do find helicopter noise to be a bit of a summertime nuisance, since I live close to the Mendenhall River, which is a flight path for helicopters returning from the icefield. One thing that greatly enhances the quality of life in my neighborhood is the ease with which I can access quiet places, such as Dredge Lakes and the many trails near the Glacier Visitor Center. Add to all this the fact that a heliport at Dredge Lakes would have a very large footprint (buildings, parking lots, fuel storage, etc.) and probably an adverse impact on the birds and wildlife in the area, and this proposal for a satellite heliport deserves to be viewed by the Forest Service as a non-starter.

Jan Kriegel

Juneau



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