First Meeting of Denali National Park and Preserve Aircraft Overflights Advisory Council
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
The Denali National Park Aircraft Overflights Advisory Council was established on September 21, 2007, and is authorized to operate under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The Council will identify and address impacts from aircraft flights over Denali National Park and Preserve. It will convene for the first time on Thursday, February 7, 2008. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Frontier Room of the Best Western Lake Lucille Inn. The Lake Lucille Inn is located at 1300 West Lake Lucille Drive, Wasilla, AK, 99654. (907) 373-1776.
Acting Superintendent Elwood Lynn said, “We are glad to have this group established as it’s an essential part of implementing the Backcountry Management Plan and continuing the public involvement process.”
The Denali National Park Aircraft Overflights Advisory Council will advise the Superintendent, through the Secretary of the Interior, on mitigation efforts that should be made to reduce the impacts from aircraft overflights at Denali National Park and Preserve. The group will develop voluntary measures for assuring the safety of passengers, pilots, and mountaineers and for achieving desired future resource conditions at Denali that were outlined in the 2006 Backcountry Management Plan. Council membership contains broad representation of interested stakeholders and has a balance of local, state, and national interests.
During the multi-year planning process to complete the 2006 Denali National Park and Preserve Backcountry Management Plan, the public identified impacts from aircraft overflights and airplane landings as a critical issue. Aircraft are an important means of visitor access to remote areas of the Denali backcountry, but overflights and landings, generally unrestricted by management plans in the past, have resulted in substantial changes in the natural sound environment and generated new conflicts with park users on the ground.
In response to public comment, the Backcountry Management Plan directs the National Park Service “to establish an aircraft overflights working group, which would include scenic air tour operators, commercial airlines, general aviation organizations, and other concerned parties.”
Information on the Advisory Council can be found at http://www.nps.gov/dena/parkmgmt/currentprojects.htm
Information on Denali's 2006 Backcountry Management Plan is located at http://www.nps.gov/dena/parkmgmt/gmp.htm
The meeting is open to the public with time allocated for public testimony. Written comments are also welcome and can be brought to the meeting or mailed to Mike Tranel, Chief of Planning, Denali National Park, 240 W. 5th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501.
Did You Know?
The vast landscapes of interior Alaska are changing. Large glaciers are receding, permafrost is melting and woody plants are spreading. Comparison of "then-and-now" photographs and data from major vegetation monitoring should allow detection, understanding and potential management of these changes.