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Sightseeing helicopters likened to mosquitoes

Allen Best/Special to the Daily

BANFF, Alberta – Parks Canada wants to clip the wings of noisy commercial sightseeing helicopter flights over some of Banff National Park’s remote wilderness areas.Officials say a growing number of commercial flights are impacting wildlife and ruining the backcountry hiking experience, particularly in the remote Bryant Creek area and near the world-renowned Columbia Icefields. Park officials want to eliminate flights in areas sensitive to grizzly bears and mountain goats, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook (May 8).”The hum of aircraft noise affects the wilderness experience to about the same degree that the hum of a mosquito affects sleep,” said avid backcountry hiker Shelley Mardiros. “It is a small but very annoying intrusion. And I bet that bears feel the same way.”Flight operators defend the flights as an alternative way for visitors to experience the parks. Their helicopters must stay 500 feet above ground in these backcountry areas, but are otherwise immune from regulation.Steamboat man accused of shooting at excavatorsSTEAMBOAT SPRINGS – A Steamboat Springs man is accused of shooting two workers on a river excavating project behind his home.The city had hired a company to place boulders in the riverbed to improve fish habitat and create additional recreation areas for tubers and kayakers, explains The Steamboat Pilot (May 8). Police say he fired two shots at the workers, injuring neither. The accused admitted in court that alcohol had clouded his judgment. Moreover, he can’t recall much of what happened.Nugent shocks but does not awe radio listenersWINTER PARK – There’s some confusion about the lineup for Winter Park’s big music show this summer. Denver-based rock “n’ roll station KBPI-FM, which has something of a rock-shock approach, was co-sponsoring the event, and it had figured to have rock-shocker Ted Nugent as the emcee.Nugent says lots of things with the intent of shocking people. Most prominently he has defended hunting of big-game animals (he’s a bow-hunter). This time, in arguing that using words takes away their power, he repeatedly used several racial slurs. This has Denver in a bit of a tiff. No word yet on what this does to Winter Park’s summer music festival.Vancouver Olympic bid reportedly the favoriteWHISTLER, B.C. – Various press agencies have been reporting that the Vancouver-Whistler bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics has become the front-runner in the three way competition with Pyeongchang, Korea, and Salzburg, Austria, says the Whistler Question (May 8). Bid officials with Vancouver 2010 expressed optimism, but refrained from calling their bid the front-runner.Hospital rates rise 25 percent in four yearsJACKSON, Wyo. – The hospital serving Jackson Hole plans to raise prices 6 percent, the fifth straight year for price increases. St. John’s Medical Center has raised prices 5 percent during the last four years, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide (April 30).”As long as there is a shortage of personnel and they keep giving major awards to drug companies, we’re going to have to spend more money,” said the hospital’s chief executive officer, Ron Ommen.


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