Group Gathering Signatures to End Helicopter Tours Over Glacier National Park
A group called Friends for a Quiet! Glacier Coalition is busy gathering signatures to try to urge Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to bring natural sounds back to Glacier National Park. According to Quiet! Glacier spokeswoman Mary McClelland, the sonic beauty of Glacier is being disrupted by anthropogenic noise from motorcycles and helicopters.
"The park is now actively working with the National Park Service's Natural Sounds Division on motorcycles and figuring out a solution for that. In 2014, they did a sound study that directly addressed that, so, they are working on that and we are working on the helicopter issue."
McClelland says there should be exceptions for firefighters, researchers and park officials, but that private helicopter tours should come to an end for everyone, even those with disabilities.
"Glacier National Park is one of the very few parks where you can drive through the center of it and have an exceptional view into the back country. If you can get into a car, or a bus, or a boat, you have access to some of the most beautiful scenes that Glacier has to offer. Anyone that can't get into a bus, a boat, or a car isn't going to be able to get into a helicopter."
Over the weekend, the online petition passed the 500 signature mark. McClelland says that less than one percent of the more than two million people that visit glacier every year do so via helicopter, but that the noise pollution damages the park for everyone.