Forest Service Proposes Helicopter Use to Remove Plane Wreckage in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Share
July 29, 2009
Wilderness Watch ISSUE ALERT
The Forest Service is proposing to remove pieces of an airplane that crashed in 1938 in the Big Prairie area of the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana because the Museum of Mountain Flying would like to display what remains in its Missoula museum. The proposal is to use a helicopter to airlift the pieces from the Wilderness and would require the helicopter to be on the ground up to 2 days.
Comments Due: 7/31/09
Electronic responses may be submitted to: email@example.com.
Background: Please send a quick letter to the Forest Service urging it to drop its plans to use a helicopter to remove pieces of a 70 year-old airplane wreckage from the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
The FS is proposing to remove pieces of an airplane that crashed in 1938 in the Big Prairie area of the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana. The engines and landing gear were salvaged shortly after the crash, and many smaller pieces have been taken as souvenirs. The Museum of Mountain Flying would like to display what remains in its Missoula museum. The proposal is to use a helicopter to airlift the pieces from the Wilderness. The action would require the helicopter to be on the ground up to 2 days.
This is the second time in 15 years that the FS has proposed removing the Ford Tri-Motor Airplane using a helicopter. Wilderness Watch and a couple of local outfitters successfully defeated an earlier proposal back in 1996.
This plan clearly violates the Wilderness Act’s prohibition on the use of motor vehicles in that its stated purpose and need “is to remove these pieces and parts to meet the Museum’s goals,” and has nothing to do with the minimum required to preserve the area as Wilderness. The Wilderness Act states:
“…except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act…there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport.” Section 4(c)
There are more than a hundred Forest Service and commercial pack trains that pass through Big Prairie each year. If the wreckage is to be removed, it could be packed out in a manner consistent with the law and wilderness ethics.
Please send a short note to the FS by Friday, July, 31, expressing your opposition to this plan and recommending the use of non-mechanized means if the removal is to be done.
For more information, please contact George Nickas: firstname.lastname@example.org