In a bit of a change of pace, I’ll refer you today to a piece titled “Change in the Air” that I wrote for Writers on the Range, an Op-Ed syndication service of the publication High Country News (this link is for the column’s appearance in the Summit Daily).
The US Army base at Fort Carson, the western boundary of which is a little less than thirty miles east of my home place, has submitted a proposed Plan of Development to the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), requesting a Right of Way to use 43 parcels of public land as helicopter landing sites. Landing exercises are just one aspect of “High Altitude Mountain Environment Training,” or HAMET, however. Flight training exercises, as low as 25 feet above the ground, would be allowed over tens of thousands of acres in south central Colorado. This would be a helicopter training site for all branches of the military, not just the Army. The plan calls for thousands of helicopter flights per year.
If you live, hike, ride horses, bike, hunt, raise livestock, camp, or rock climb in the area, or know anyone who does, please spread the word. Not many people seem to know about the proposal. The BLM is accepting comments on their scoping report until April 10, 2015.
You can view documents related to the Army’s proposal and the BLM’s evaluation process at blm.gov/23ld.