Army Off-Base Helicopter Proposal

Overview

Army aviation officials at Joint Base Lewis-McChord want to create a North Cascades training area for helicopter pilots to practice flyovers and high-altitude landingson U.S. Forest Service lands. Portions of the Methow Valley are included in the Army’s proposal. Training operations would be conducted using aircraft to include the MH/UH-60 Black
Hawk, AH-64 Apache, and MH/CH-47 Chinook. The training areas would be available for
use day and night, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with the exception of Federal holidays.
The comment period for this project has been extended until November 3rd. If you are interested in commenting please see our comment letter guidelines posted below.

Updates:

JBLM removes helicopter landing zones from consideration

The U.S. Army’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) issued a press release on Thursday (4/7) announcing that they will be re-evaluating their proposed helicopter training proposal. The JBLM leadership made their decision after reviewing 2,350 individual and organizational stakeholder comments they received in response to their proposal last summer.

Proposed Helicopter Landing Zones identified in the Army’s June 2015 Scoping Document, including those located in the North Cascades, have been removed from consideration, and will not be included in any follow-up environmental assessment. It is not clear whether new sites will be proposed in the North Cascades. A date has not been set for the revised environmental assessment. We are celebrating while remaining vigilant for new proposals.

Senator Patty Murray was instrumental in the JBLM decision to extend the comment period on this important issue twice, in light of catastrophic fires in the Methow Valley and elsewhere.

PLEASE take a moment to thank Senator Murray for her role in ensuring our voices were heard.  Overwhelming public comment clearly made all the difference in the JBLM leadership’s decision to re-evaluate their proposal.

Write a note of appreciation to Senator Murray at:
http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme
or call her office at 202 224- 2621

Here are a handful of articles on the announcement:

04/07/16 Tacoma News Tribune, “Citing public protests, JBLM suspends proposal to send helicopters to North Cascades

04/07/16 Wenatchee World, “Army takes North Cascades helicopter training sites off the table

04/07/16 Kitsap Sun, “Army shelves plan for North Cascades helicopter training

Links

Comment Guidelines

Army Scoping Letter

Army Helicopter Training Proposal

EPA Comment Letter on Helicopter Proposal

Joint-Organization Comment Letter on Helicopter Proposal, Organizations such as The Mountaineers, The Wilderness Society, Sierra Club – Washington Chapter, Conservation Northwest, National Parks Conservation Association, North Cascades Audubon Society, Olympic Park Associates, Washington Wildlife Federation, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.. etc have joined together to write a comment letter on the helicopter proposal.

News

MVN Article regarding our recent meeting on the Army’s proposal

Informational Meeting on the JBLM Off-Base Helicopter Training Areas Proposal on Thursday 10/1/15 at 7pm at Twisp Grange.

Army aviation officials at Joint Base Lewis-McChord want to create a North Cascades training area for helicopter pilots to practice flyovers and high-altitude landings on U.S. Forest Service lands. Several of these sites would be located within the Methow Valley. Comments for this proposal are due November 3rd, 2015. The intent of this meeting is to help local community members make informed comments at this early stage of the process as well as discuss potential impacts on the environment and socio-economic impacts on the Methow Valley. This is a free event and we encourage you to attend.

Information and Printable Comments: For more information on how to submit comments please review our comment guideline flyer. Additional informational materials can be found here, Army Scoping Letter, EPA Comment Letter, and a Joint Comment Letter on the proposal.

Comment Period on Army Helicopter Training Proposal Extended until November 3rd, 2015.

Please review the following PDF for more information on what to comment on and who to submit comments to.

MVCC Comments on the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Helicopter Training Proposal

MVCC has submitted our comments to the Army and you can read them here. We encourage you to submit your own comments to the Army, if you would like suggestions on what to comment on or advice on how to submit comments please review the section below.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Helicopter Training Proposal
Comments needed by November 3rd! Contact your Senators, too.

Army aviation officials at Joint Base Lewis-McChord want to create a North Cascades training area for helicopter pilots to practice flyovers and high-altitude landings on U.S. Forest Service lands. Portions of the Methow Valley are included in the Army’s proposal. The training areas would be available for use day and night, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with the exception of Federal holidays.

Congress has never authorized the general use of national forests for military use, nor does any statute specifically authorize the use of the Okanogan or Wenatchee national forests for such purpose. At least three of the proposed areas are very popular with hikers, backpackers, bicyclists and people on horseback. These locations are also habitat for federally listed species including Canada Lynx, Wolverine and Northern Spotted Owl.

The Army has prepared a scoping document which is intended to provide interested parties the proposed scope of the Environmental Assessment (EA) and to seek additional information pertinent to this analysis. Read the Army’s Scoping document (including maps showing proposed landing zones)

Comments must be submitted by November 3rd. Please review the following PDF for more information on what to comment on and who to submit comments to.

Joint Comment Letter on Army Helicopter Training Proposal

MVCC was one of the 67 organizations and local businesses who signed onto a joint comment letter on the Army Helicopter Training Proposal. Read the letter here. The comment period on the scoping document for the proposal closed on November 3rd.

 

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