Haines helicopter votes remain close

Borough still tallying votes on ballot measures

Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2001

HAINES - One advisory vote to allow helicopter tourism and another that could end up limiting it both appear to be passing, creating a potentially confusing situation.

Borough residents in one measure were asked to state their support for the managed use of helicopters for commercial recreation, including heli-skiing, from February through April.

The unofficial tally showed those favoring the measure outnumber those against 528-388. More than 200 absentee ballots remain to be counted.

Backers of the proposal said it would lay the groundwork for an expanded winter economy.

Voters inside the city of Haines, who make up the majority of the borough population, strongly favored the measure. Most voters outside the city opposed managed use of helicopters for commercial recreation.

A second measure was posed to borough voters outside the city. The advisory vote asked whether a service area to regulate commercial helicopter tours should be created. Backers sought to limit helicopter tours.

As of Wednesday, support for the service area led 152 to 101. Absentee ballots remain uncounted and could change the results.

Haines is Alaska's only third-class borough, which limits its powers. Planning and management comes from service areas.

Voters in the Haines Borough voted down an advisory question on recreational helicopter use in 1996.

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