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High-altitude helicopter training restricted
The Colorado Army National Guard will maintain its annual high-altitude helicopter training on Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands
in Eagle and Garfield counties at 3,000 hours.
The Guard also has agreed to additional stipulations in order to protect wilderness areas, wildlife and livestock, the White River National Forest and
BLM announced today.
The military believes high-altitude combat training is vital for the protection of pilots and aircrews. In combat, aircrews trained in high-altitude
aviation have a higher mission success rate as well as fewer accidents. As such, the Army had asked for 6,000 hours that could spend training in the
High-Altitude Army Aviation Training Site area around Gypsum.
"We all understand and respect the need for this training, and the three agencies sat down to work through potential issues while keeping in mind the
important goals of the Colorado National Guard," said White River National Forest Planner Wendy Haskins. "What we found is that the current 3,000
training hours meets the needs of the pilots without providing an undue burden on public lands resources."
Working together on the environmental assessment, including reviewing public comments and the environmental analysis, the three agencies added
stipulations for the site to include:
Avoiding flights over congressionally-designated wilderness.
Decrease significantly the number of landings within the Red Table and Dome Peak recommended wilderness areas.
Respect the needs of wildlife and livestock.
Honor special interest areas.
For more information on the decision, contact Wendy Haskins, White River National Forest planner at 970-945-3303; or Brian Hopkins, Bureau of Land
Management community planner at 970-947-2840.