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Crater Lake Eyed for Helicopter Tours

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UPDATE 3/25/10: The Senate has passed legislation allowing the NPS to ban helicopter tours at Crater Lake without going through a lengthy inter-agency process with the FAA.  The measure still needs to be approved by a House-Senate conference committee.

A request from an air tour operator to begin helicopter flights in Crater Lake National Park has stirred considerable local opposition.  The Oregonian editorialized against the proposal, saying that the rim road already provides suitable access to those who can’t hike far.  The same rim road is used by Leading Edge Aviation in its pitch to allow the flights, as they claim that their ‘copters will not cause any more noise impact than RVs in the summer or snowmobiles in the winter cruising the rim.  Others are skeptical that the choppers are really that quiet. Erik Fernandez, wilderness coordinator for Oregon Wild, says, “It’s embarrassing enough that we have only one national park and so little protected wilderness in Oregon. Desecrating the experience at Crater Lake with helicopters buzzing around would be tragic.” Planned air tours range include a half-hour flight that just passes by the north rim and two longer options that skirt other Park landmarks, including Grouse Hill and The Pinnacles. See local press coverage here, and Leading Edge’s tour proposal here.

One Response to “Crater Lake Eyed for Helicopter Tours”

  1. Tim Says:

    it won’t be so bad as long as there is a limit on how many permits they give out to tour companies. people should be able to experience this from the sky but if they allow a ton of tour companies on the property it will do more harm than good.

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