DNR Denies Black Ops Permits – July 30, 2015
The Department of Natural Resources has denied two(2) Land Use Permit applications by Black Ops submitted last spring One permit would have allowed Black Ops use of a portion of the old Valdez Heli-Camp site at Mile 18. In the decision the Department noted potential conflicts with Alaska Snowboard Guides who have a permit for the site issued in 2014.
The other permit was for a remote camp on a glacier. Negative public comment on the proposal focused on public access and the need for a longer permit comment period.
The decisions also noted a number of issues regarding past Black Ops operations including fuel containment violations and illegal use of public lands without a permit. Ongoing conflicts within the heliski industry was noted.
This decisions comes one year after the State of Alaska held a series of meetings with industry and public stakeholders to address growing safety concerns. Since then, the State has boosted oversight and permit compliance checks in response to a number of fatalities in Haines and land use and safety concerns in Valdez.
The public has 20 days to appeal the decisions.
The decision can be found at the Department of Natural Resources/Division of Mining and Water website noting LAS 29417 and LAS 30194. The contact person at DNR is Jessica Meybin.
Here are the Decision documents.