The elephant in Denali
The recently constructed "Sheldon Chalet," financed by multiple investors, dominates what was created by pioneering legend Don Sheldon on the Ruth Glacier in Denali National Park.
Don Sheldon built a 6-sided plywood shelter — 12-by-12-by-12 — which included a wood stove and benches around the perimeter to sleep on, and which the general public could easily afford to rent. Climbers, skiers and pristine-wilderness-seekers would go there and have a unique experience. These people as well as families would get dropped off fully dressed and prepared for the environment with mountains of gear, firewood, coolers of food. They'd snowshoe a trail through 2 or 3 feet of snow up to the original Mountain House, which was built in the late 1960s. They would get a fire started, haul all their stuff up and enjoy the quiet landscape of Denali. These days are gone.
Now, at a cost of thousands of dollars per person for a minimum stay, people are flown in by helicopter, land on a steel helipad 50 feet from the door, walk in wearing their street clothes to what looks like a Best Western motel with a chef, maid, bar, sauna and all the high-end conveniences you can imagine. The Sheldon Chalet sits between two of the main glacier landing areas for tourists to view Denali while standing on the glacier. The visitors' view and soundscape now will be helicopter traffic, generators, The Elephant, wooden stairs across the rocks and snowmobiles — one of which is currently lost in the glacier somewhere.
None of this was there before the Sheldon Chalet. It is unaffordable to most. The Don Sheldon Amphitheater has been changed forever — for money, tax write-offs, and the greedy exploitation for a few. The Sheldon Chalet website and social media have portrayed and misled the public on many issues involving the Sheldon Chalet. What will be the next venue — a casino?
Living in Talkeetna for 40 years and having known Roberta Sheldon for 30 years, I will say she was a first-class woman of distinction and her gratitude for nature and Alaska was unmatched. She fought against the Susitna Dam, she preserved the historical district of Talkeetna, and she kept the cost of going to the Mountain House in reach of the average person. She loved it here. I have a hard time believing she would have approved of the Sheldon Chalet as it is now. She left the nearly 5-acre piece of property and original Mountain House built in the late '60s to her three children; Holly, Kate and Robert.
My wife Holly Sheldon Lee and I own Sheldon Air Service, named after and in honor of Don Sheldon. I have been flying Alaskans and travelers from all around the world to the original Don Sheldon Mountain House for nearly 40 years. Sadly, that has been taken away from us, left us out, not involved, against our will due to the bullying of two siblings who have taken total control of what was also willed to Holly.
Flying Denali is our way of life. We will continue to provide transportation and trips of a lifetime to all who live here and will come to this great state of Alaska, even if there is an elephant in the park.
— David Lee
Facts not owned by political views
I had to chuckle at the smugness oozing from Eric Olenick's letter to the editor asking about the lack of mass shootings at gun shows. Why not throw in opera performances, baseball games, balloon races, airshows and so on?
How many folks have been shot at gun shows might be a better question. I mean it has to be all good guys at gun shows, right, Eric? No accidental or other types of shootings? And with the rigorous background checks at gun shows I am sure they only attract the fine upstanding types right?
Yes, you get brownie points for possibly knowing that AR is a contraction for ARmalite, one of the manufacturers of semi-automatic rifles that serve as human compensators. So if the parents, siblings, relatives and friends of the people murdered with AR weapons do not know what the AR really stands for does that mean their loss is less?
A couple of posers for you, Eric. When was the last time you heard of a female mass murderer using an AR-type weapon? How many AR mass murders have occurred in Australia since AR-type weapons were banned by a conservative government? No one owns the facts regardless of their political viewpoint.
— John Stewart
Prop. 1 not needed, fanned by fear
If you believe laws that support discrimination are wrong you will want to vote no on Proposition 1. In the upcoming election the citizens of Anchorage will have the opportunity to say all members of our community should be treated fairly.
Prop. 1 is unnecessary, harmful and discriminatory. It is a misguided effort fanned by the flames of fear and misunderstanding that would change existing municipal non-discrimination laws that protect transgender people. We do not want Anchorage to become a city that passes laws violating people's civil rights, legalizing discrimination or denying any citizens the right to live their lives out in the open with dignity. Anchorage should continue to be a city that is welcoming to all and proud of it's diversity.
Now is the time for every citizen to vote against discrimination by saying no on Prop. 1. It is the right thing to do for everyone that lives and works here and has chosen to make Anchorage their home.
— Kass Friend