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Re: Comment Period for Authorization of Helicopter Landings by CDFG within Wilderness Areas

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avatar Comment Period for Authorization of Helicopter Landings by CDFG within Wilderness Areas
April 03, 2011 06:27PM
Comment Period for Authorization of Helicopter Landings by CDFG within Wilderness Areas
Release Date: Apr 3, 2011 Bishop, CA
Contact(s): Nancy Upham

The Inyo National Forest is initiating the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposal to authorize the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) to land a helicopter within designated wilderness areas to support the recovery of the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep. Helicopter landings would occur within portions of the designated Recovery Herd Units on the Inyo National Forest as identified in the 2007 Final Recovery Plan for Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.

The purpose of this project is to support CDFG in implementation of the 2007 Recovery Plan, which identifies specific actions needed to downlist or delist the species. Recovery actions include monitoring of individual bighorn sheep health as well as translocating bighorn sheep. Bighorn sheep need to be captured and handled in order to collect data on the health of individual bighorn sheep and to affix new or repair old VHF and GPS collars (monitoring captures), or translocate selected bighorn sheep to new herd locations (translocation captures). Due to the remote areas in which Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep occur and the rugged terrain they inhabit, a helicopter is needed to carry out the captures.

The proposed action would allow CDFG to land a helicopter to conduct monitoring and translocation captures over a ten year period within the Northern, Central, and Southern Recovery Herd Units, parts of which are located in the Ansel Adams, Golden Trout, Hoover, John Muir, Owens River Headwaters, and South Sierra Wildernesses.

How to Comment and Timeframe

This scoping period is intended to provide those interested in or affected by this proposal an opportunity to raise concerns or provide input on the potential effects of the proposed project. To obtain a copy of the proposed action and project maps, please visit the following website: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/project_content.php?project=35211or contact project leader Leeann Murphy at phone number 760.873.2450 or by email at lbmurphy@fs.fed.us.

Public comments can be mailed to project leader Leeann Murphy at: Inyo National Forest, Supervisor’s Office, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 200, Bishop, CA 93514. Comments may also be submitted by fax (760.873.2458) or by hand-delivery to the Supervisor’s Office, during normal business hours (Monday – Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm). Electronic comments may be submitted via email to the following address, with “Authorization for Helicopter Landing by CDFG within Wilderness Areas” in the subject line: comments-pacificsouthwest-inyo@fs.fed.us. Electronic comments should be submitted in plain text (.txt), rich text (.rtf), or Word (.doc). Comments must be received by April 22, 2011.
I was always curious, if there was a medical emergency, is a helicopter usually flown in to the valley. It takes so long to drive out... this is assuming the medical clinic in the valley would not be able to handle the situation. I know, the article is about sheep.
I am sure they can fly something in.
Quote
missjw
I am sure they can fly something in.
I was in Evolution Valley (Kings Canyon) in 2007, having crossed Lamarck Col shortly after one of the airmen killed on Darwin Glacier in WW-II was found. When I passed the ranger station there was a note by the trail warning that a helicopter would be landing there that day.
That is kind of crazy. I guess there are no other choices sometime.
avatar Re: Comment Period for Authorization of Helicopter Landings by CDFG within Wilderness Areas
April 04, 2011 11:22AM
Quote
DanPJ
I was always curious, if there was a medical emergency, is a helicopter usually flown in to the valley.

Yes, and it happens quite often.
Where is the nearest major hospital?
avatar Re: Comment Period for Authorization of Helicopter Landings by CDFG within Wilderness Areas
May 09, 2011 10:25AM
Quote
missjw
Where is the nearest major hospital?

Merced.
Quote
DanPJ
I was always curious, if there was a medical emergency, is a helicopter usually flown in to the valley. It takes so long to drive out... this is assuming the medical clinic in the valley would not be able to handle the situation. I know, the article is about sheep.



There have been many trips where I've listened to and watched copters flying around the valley. So much so that there is a Helopad just outside of Crane Flat at the old fire lookout tower. If you see a red tailed helicopter flying around Yosemite it probably came from Crane Flat.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/05/2011 08:30AM by qumqats.
I give free heli-toper rides from Crane Frat LO:





Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Comment Period for Authorization of Helicopter Landings by CDFG within Wilderness Areas
April 05, 2011 11:42PM
Quote
chick-on
I give free heli-toper rides from Crane Frat LO:




The minor heli-toper damage observed in the photo occurred during Chick-on's attempt to land at the 'Curry Frat LZ'
(lat. 37°44'44"N, long. 119°32'06"W; el. 8.0k).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/05/2011 11:51PM by szalkowski.
Well... it IS a flat surface...



Chick-on is looking at you!
Quote
DanPJ
I was always curious, if there was a medical emergency, is a helicopter usually flown in to the valley. It takes so long to drive out... this is assuming the medical clinic in the valley would not be able to handle the situation. I know, the article is about sheep.

Yosemite Valley is not Congressionally designated wilderness. In any case, the rules of various mechanical transport and aircraft landings in wilderness are essentially waived for medical emergencies.

http://wilderness.nps.gov/document/WildernessAct.pdf

Quote

PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN USES

(c) Except as specifically provided for in this Act, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be no
commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this Act and except
as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act
(including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area),
there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing
of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.

They can get pretty lenient. I was several miles into Yosemite's designated wilderness when I saw a full maintenance crew. I mean - there were over a dozen people with power tools, chainsaws, etc. I've also seen downed trees in wilderness areas that were clearly sliced with chainsaws where they had blocked trails.
Here's a toper that landed on El Cap and subsuqently took back off.
They were looking for a lost hiker.

From a few years ago:


Prob. shouldn't even mention they land them atop the dome which is (1/4)*2.

As for the chainsaws.. I think they are ignoring the "rules". Seen them many times along with things such as wheel-barrels at
trail crew camps. I recall seeing some video of trail work in Kings Canyon of a crew cutting with an two man saw.
Wonder how much of that is done nowadays... and/or/if they just use chainsaws there too.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Quote
chick-on

As for the chainsaws.. I think they are ignoring the "rules". Seen them many times along with things such as wheel-barrels at
trail crew camps. I recall seeing some video of trail work in Kings Canyon of a crew cutting with an two man saw.
Wonder how much of that is done nowadays... and/or/if they just use chainsaws there too.

I'm not sure what the rules are for the Park, but I have definitely heard and seen evidence of chainsaw use there. I was at Beehive a few years ago about to fall asleep at dusk and heard a chainsaw coming from the direction of the trail to Laurel. I reassured myself that it was a trail crew and not a maniac in the backcountry.

Also, in the Emigrant Wilderness I know some horsepackers will carry a chainsaw (in clear violation of the Emigrant's rules) to clear the trail. I'm sure the Forest Service would cite them if there was a ranger in the backcountry, but honestly I doubt they care all that much since it keeps the trails clear.
That chick-on goes everywhere!
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