This place we live in has a valuable commodity to offer tourists coming to Haines. It is an opportunity to heli-ski in a setting like none other. People from all over the world come here because of our uniqueness. Limits are needed to keep it that way, both in numbers of skiers and operators, as well as residents’ tolerance of the industry.

I think the borough must choose carefully whom it will let provide the service. While the current discussion is whether to have a third operator or not, maybe a more important question is which two should operate in this valley. On the one hand there is an operator who has been a thorn in the side of the borough for years, violating agreed upon permit conditions with obvious disdain for the borough and the residents who are impacted by their operations. The recent disclosure that he is planning a new heliport at 26 Mile is a good example.

On the other hand, there is Alaska Mountain Guides, an internationally recognized, respected company with a long track record in Haines. They have a long record of respect for the permits they operate within and the residents of the community. They also have the contacts worldwide to promote Haines far and wide.

Alaska Mountain Guides is the easy choice for me. Currently, the borough spends way too much time on issues around heli-skiing, many created by one operator’s attitude. Maybe a change will make this industry more tolerable.

Ron Jackson