Assembly upholds heli-ski decision
The Haines Borough Assembly Tuesday upheld its original decision to keep the 2,200-acre zone near Four Winds Mountain closed to heli-skiing after assembly member Dave Berry called for reconsideration of the issue.
Two heli-skiing operators had asked the Four Winds Mountain zone and four other areas be opened for a month-long special event, but the assembly rejected the request at its March 11 meeting. Berry called for reconsideration on the Four Winds area after a “good friend” told him the mountain goats weren’t in the Four Winds area at this time of year.
Berry said Tuesday he accidentally showed his friend a map of the Ferebee, believing it was a map of Four Winds.
Despite the mistake, Berry voted to allow opening of the area, as did assembly members George Campbell and Diana Lapham. Assembly members Debra Schnabel and Joanne Waterman voted in opposition. Assembly member Jerry Lapp was absent.
Berry said he also asked for reconsideration after he went home and thought about his vote in the context of the recent economic development summit at the Chilkat Center. After “spouting off” about the importance of supporting economic development at the summit, he said he felt somewhat hypocritical voting against opening more heli-ski terrain.
“I think if the heli-ski people ask for five or more places and we give them one, I think that’s an excellent compromise,” Berry said.
Four members of the public testified Tuesday, with two people opposed to opening the Four Winds area – Chris Nagy and Joe Ordonez – and two in favor – Scott Sundberg and Karen Hess.