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USFS allows helicopter for wilderness elk study

Paul in Idaho

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Just saw this article: http://www.idahostatesman.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article53645135.html

My decision is based on careful consideration that included analysis of information provided by a variety of public interests. In the end, I decided to authorize the limited use of helicopters by IDFG for monitoring elk in The Frank. While the use of mechanical transport, motorized equipment and aircraft landing are prohibited in wilderness, rare exceptions can be made. In this case, I am convinced that helicopter use is warranted for purposes of wilderness administration in this case.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article53645135.html#storylink=cpy

I think this makes sense. Just 5 days of helicopter flights during the winter will not, in my opinion, degrade the wilderness quality. 60 new GPS collars on elk could provide a lot of valuable new information.
 

Ben Lamb

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Cedar, MI
Just saw this article: http://www.idahostatesman.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article53645135.html



I think this makes sense. Just 5 days of helicopter flights during the winter will not, in my opinion, degrade the wilderness quality. 60 new GPS collars on elk could provide a lot of valuable new information.

Agreed. The intent of the Wilderness Act was never to disallow things like this, or helicopter stocking of lakes. In fact, most states still use helicopters to stock wilderness lakes. The Act is pretty amazing when you dig in to the details of what is and isn't allowed, usually at the discretion of the district ranger.
 

hank4elk

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SW NM
agreed. The intent of the wilderness act was never to disallow things like this, or helicopter stocking of lakes. In fact, most states still use helicopters to stock wilderness lakes. The act is pretty amazing when you dig in to the details of what is and isn't allowed, usually at the discretion of the district ranger.

this!
 

LopeHunter

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MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ&NW
What is the wear and tear on the soil and plants? What is the impact of the wildlife? Nada for the 1st Q and nominal short term stress re 2nd Q. Some elk or other critters might be right on the edge for survival and the stress of a chopper appearance might be a consideration though usually there is some winter die-off related to limitation of available food.

Congrats to the district ranger for working through the process and reaching a decision that seems very reasonable.
 

el unit

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Smelter City, MT
Agreed. The intent of the Wilderness Act was never to disallow things like this, or helicopter stocking of lakes. In fact, most states still use helicopters to stock wilderness lakes. The Act is pretty amazing when you dig in to the details of what is and isn't allowed, usually at the discretion of the district ranger.

When I outfitted in Western Colorado, I held a permit that enabled me to run chainsaw in the West Elk Wilderness to clear trails we used regularly. We had certain days in the summer, and even the two week window between archery and first rifle season. It was a permit we shared with the local cattle pool- we were able to get out and clear trail more often than the Cowboys were. Paonia Ranger District granted us the special permit.
My friend, a 15 year timber harvest inspector for USFS, would not believe me until I showed him the actual permit.
The look on his face was priceless when he held the permit in his hands!
Doug Homan (retired Game Warden) would stock trout into the wilderness lakes using mules and horses.
 
AMK Sportsman

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