Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Flying around Denali National Park

If you've been flying, hiking, or climbing on and around Mount McKinley (Denali to the rest of us), or within the confines of the park, the Denali National Park & Preserve Aircraft Advisory Council is meeting Thursday, Feb. 7th, in the Best Western Lake Lucille Inn from 1pm-4pm.

"The council will identify and address the impacts from aircraft flight over Denali National Park & Preserve." For any non-resident treehuggers out there: before you get vapors, please remember that the federal government locked up six million acres of land, and only 14.8 miles of road are publicly accessible within it (aside from a 400-car road lottery that lets the lucky ones in once a year). This isn't Yosemite with traffic jams at the gate; most of the only way to see this state is by air. Even the climbers have to take air taxi to get to Denali (Mt. McKinley).

The aircraft overflight working group consists of scenic air tour operators, commercial operators, general aviation organizations, and other concerned parties.

In other words, flightseeing charters, airlines whose polar flight routes go over DNPP, airlines who ferry folks between Anchorage and our second-largest city, Fairbanks, those of us who want to fly out and see it ourselves, land on the backcountry strips, or just fly from Fairbanks to Anchorage and back to see a dentist and get some shopping in, the folks the government hasn't forced off the land yet when they declared it a national park, the climbers who want to get to denali, the wildlife folks who are torn between getting in by air to study wildlife and the concern that aircraft noise might impact wildlife...

This is democracy in action. If you have a stake in it, or you're just interested, the meeting's open to the public!

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