No major changes for helicopter landings

Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2008

JUNEAU - A contractor for the U.S Forest Service has not recommended any major updates to the agency's 2002 decision regarding helicopter landings on the Juneau Icefield.

The contractor, Tetra Tech Inc., was hired to help the agency decide whether the data on noise, harassment of wildlife and other potential problems is still current and valid. A draft report was released last week and must still be finalized by the Forest Service.

The Forest Service decides when, where and how helicopters can land on the icefield, part of the Tongass National Forest, throughout the summer.

Last year, the icefield had about 17,000 landings of the 22,000 that were allowed in the 2002 decision. The helicopter operators had requested 42,000 landings.

Juneau saw 35 percent more cruise ship passengers in 2007 than in 2002. In the same time, helicopter landings increased just 1 percent, the draft report said.

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