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State postpones controversial Kachemak Bay heli-skiing decision

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Alaska's Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation has postponed decisions regarding helicopter ski operations in Southcentral Alaska's Kachemak Bay State Park and Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park.

In October, Parks and Rec requested public input regarding the "multiple applications" it had received seeking permission to operate commercial helicopter skiing operations in the mountains surrounding the community of Homer, population 5,400 or so, on the Kenai Peninsula. More than 3,000 comments were documented in response to the heliskiing operations proposal.

“The division received a broad range of comments ... (which) were thoughtful and show that people are very passionate about this special area,” said Ben Ellis, Director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. “This is an issue that will require careful and thorough evaluation to determine if it is compatible with the legislation that created the park."

The division is planning to begin "a revision of the 1995 park management plan" this year, and Ellis said the heliskiing proposal would be "evaluated and addressed as part of that process along with other activities that affect the park.”

For more information contact the Kenai/Prince William Sound Area state park office at 907-262-5581.