Local pressure building for large scale change
Recent flight data from the Jackson Hole Airport shows that Wind River Air, LLC has violated the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) request that all operators fly above 2,000 feet over noise sensitive areas on 61 occasions within the Gros Ventre Wilderness and 84 occasions over the National Elk Refuge. Joe Albright, co-owner of Flat Creek Ranch, documents these violations in his third letter to the FAA. Read more about Joe’s findings in the recent News and Guide article, linked here.
These findings add to a growing list of complaints against Wind River Air currently under investigation by the FAA. The Jackson Hole Airport and Grand Teton National Park both lack the authority to directly address these airspace violations. As such, we are calling upon the FAA, as the regulatory agency charged with official oversight, authority, and enforcement of airspace over public lands, for a permanent solution to our community’s concerns.
Our community warded off helicopter tours from our quiet skies nearly 20 years ago, yet no lasting legislation or regulations have been established to prevent them from returning, proliferating, and staying for good. Our public lands, and our community values that are based around them, are too precious to make the same mistake again. If the current language of the FAA rules and regulations is not able to address this issue, a formal change to existing rules and regulations may be needed to adequately address the regulatory loophole made apparent by the lack of regulation and consequences for these violations by tour operators over Grand Teton National Park.
Wind River Air’s permit to operate is up for renewal at the upcoming Jackson Hole Airport Board meeting on April 20, 2022. Ask the Airport Board to postpone renewing their permit to operate until the FAA investigation into complaints made against Wind River Air is completed.
Now is the time to let decision makers know that we value our quiet skies: submit public comment to the FAA, the Airport Board, and your local decision makers. Widen the conversation by writing a Letter to the Editor as well!
Contact Alliance Public Lands Community Organizer Caroline Daley at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or more information.