Court Allows Heli-Skiing In Utah National Forests


     DENVER (CN) – The 10th Circuit has rejected environmentalists’ bid to stop the U.S. Forest Service from allowing guided helicopter skiing in Utah’s Wasatch-Cache and Uinta National Forests.




     The Citizens’ Committee to Save Our Canyons and the Utah Environmental Congress challenged the Forest Service’s decision to issue a special permit to Wasatch Powderbird Guides to plant skiers via helicopter in the remote backcountry of national forest land. Plaintiffs claimed heli-skiing ruins their enjoyment of quiet, non-motorized activities, such as backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and camping. Anchoring their legal arguments in the National Forest Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, plaintiffs claimed the Forest Service’s decision violated federal law by failing to adequately consider heli-skiing’s impact on the environment.
     The unanimous three-court panel ruled that the 2005 permit “includes a number of reasonable restrictions on WPG with the goal of allowing both helicopter skiers and other backcountry users to enjoy the national forests.” See ruling.

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