Does anyone remember Juneau summers before the helicopter glacier tours invaded our skies? Do you remember when hiking or simply sitting in your yard wasn't a stressful event? Does the constant armada over your head and congestion in the streets take its toll on you? It's intolerable that the most anticipated time of year for many Alaskans is marred by the sheer volume of people glutting our fair city from spring to fall.
The pro-tourism groups are constantly crying about the declining number of tourists traveling to Juneau. Can we possibly absorb more people into our small city? What about quality of life for those who live here? Obviously, tour companies care only about the almighty dollar. The locals just get in the way. I spoke with representatives of a few local helicopter tour companies to complain about the frequency of flights over my home. Unable to persuade me, the company representative had the gall to add that tourism brought a better class of people to Juneau. As opposed to what?
Where are the environmentalists when you need them? Has it occurred to them that the mass of helicopters descending on the ice may be having a negative impact on our pristine glaciers? In addition, the incessant "war zone" overhead has to be detrimental to our wildlife. After all, their hearing is much more sensitive than ours.
How about we put a cap on the number of helicopter ice tours per day, or decrease hours of operation. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. makes a long, excruciating day for those of us who live directly under routes of the ice tours. A day of silence for the locals also would be beneficial for maintaining sanity, and would show good will to the community. As for me, I'm just glad "helicopter hell" is over for the season.
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