Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Helicopter landing pits lodge against neighbors


An unexpected helicopter landing at a Mosquito Lake lodge prompted confusion and irritation among area residents Monday.

A Last Frontier Air Ventures helicopter landed at a lodge owned by Bruce Bauer around 6 p.m. Monday. The helicopter had been in Haines operating under contract with heli-ski company Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures (SEABA), but was no longer under contract when it landed at Bauer’s lodge, said SEABA co-owner Scott Sundberg.

Sundberg said neither he nor Last Frontier Air Ventures gave the pilot permission to land at the lodge. “We certainly don’t condone that and didn’t think that was a proper thing... (The pilot) didn’t think it would be a problem,” Sundberg said.

The pilot had been staying at the lodge and apparently left some possessions there he needed to pick up before leaving town, Sundberg said.

Area resident Debbie Stanford and her husband were at home when the helicopter landed. “We were blown out of our chairs, basically. It was very loud and very disruptive,” Stanford said.

Stanford said she took video of the helicopter, which stayed at the lodge for about 15 minutes. Stanford said this incident is only one thing in a long list of concerns she has about activity at Bauer’s lodge; other problems include late-night fireworks and gun-toting lodge visitors walking along the road shooting.

“Something is going on out there and we’re afraid it’s going to escalate,” Stanford said.

Dave King, owner of Last Frontier Air Ventures, said the pilot did not do anything illegal by landing at the lodge, as Bauer had given the pilot permission to land on private property. However, King reiterated the landing was ill-advised and that his company did not give permission for the helicopter to land.

“For some reason it has caused a huge uproar and a lot of problems for SEABA... There’s nothing wrong with what (the pilot) did, it’s just that it’s not politically correct to do that in Haines,” King said.

Bauer said he knows his neighbors are unhappy with the landing and other noisy activities that have been happening at the lodge, but he welcomes helicopters landing on his private property. “I’m sure not everybody’s happy. I’m not happy when the dog sled team next door barks at breakfast, but I don’t call the troopers,” Bauer said.

“The bird can land and stay in my yard as long as they want... There was definitely no illegal landing here. I dare anyone to tell me I had an illegal landing,” Bauer said.


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