Letters to the Editor

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RAINIER: Airplanes leave the smallest footprint

Letter by Joseph McDonald, Tacoma on April 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm with 17 Comments »
April 25, 2011 12:47 pm

Re: “Park flight fight hits turbulence” (TNT, 4-25).

Why is listening to “subtle sounds of nature” more worthy than seeing the magnificence of nature from the air?

I know people who can’t hike Mount Rainer Park, let alone go there with sensitive equipment to listen to falling rain, chewing insects and the snow melting. Some of them are disabled, old or just very young.

Seeing the mountain from the air is breathtaking and much less intrusive than traipsing through the woods, breaking plants and disturbing the wildlife with sensitive equipment.
To see the park from the air actually leaves the smallest footprint of all forms of travel, including walking. To deny air travel is downright foolish.

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. lovethemountains says:

    I am in total agreement with Mr. McDonald.

  2. I was a Flight Engineer aboard a C-141b when they were at McChord and a part of flight triaining we would pack a few pilots for training over at Moses Lake.

    We would cross the Cascades at 10,001 feet and off our wingtip was Mt. Ranier. On quite a few flights the chatter would take a back seat as we would all look in awe at the mountain… it was most beautiful during a sunrise or sunset…

  3. Having flight paths over the park really destroys the backwoods experience of getting away from civilization. Not foolish. Your pleasure from the air imposes on everyone in the park.

  4. itwasntmethistime says:

    Airplanes are really loud. The noise is very intrusive to humans and wildlife in the ground.

  5. spotted1 says:

    I guess one of them fancy new fangled flying machines would not ever have a problem with crashing on Rainier either. Because that has never happened at any park or place ever in the United States when someone got to close to the park.

  6. An airplane’s carbon footprint is pretty large compared to 4 people in a car. Mr. McDonald did not think through his comment completely.

  7. TheOne41 says:

    I don’t think Mr.McDonald was referring to the “carbon” footprint but rather the disturbance to nature caused by humans trekking around stepping on plants and disrupting Mt. Rainier’s wildlife habitats… His point I believe is that from the air, you do not have to intrude on the landscape in order to enjoy it.

  8. lovethemountains says:

    I am opposed to an outright ban over overflights of parks and wilderness areas. I am not opposed to reasonale restrictions for such flights. There are already restrictions as to AGL flights over sensitive areas that I believe are quite adequate.

    To cite an example of my support for reasonable restrictions I can say that in my younger years I made many horse pack trips into wilderness areas in Washington and Montana. On one such trip we heard a chain saw operating in the wilderness. We followed the sound and found other horse packers using a chain saw to cut firewood. We reminded them of the ban on motorized vehicles or equipment and ask them to discontinue the use of the saw. The next day we heard it fire up again. Later that afternoon we ran into two USFS rangers on horseback and reported the violators.

  9. With the NPS getting less and less funding it becomes more reliant upon user fees. There is no financial benefit to allowing overhead flights which do have a negative impact upon one of the primary reasons why people like me spend the money to get into the park – to get away from industrialized life for a little while.

  10. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    Overhead flights provide access for those who don’t have capacity to hike in. Also, just living in Ashford does not entitle anyone to freedom from an in industrial society or the noise from our defenders at practice.

  11. There is plenty of access for various levels of physical limitations – including riding through the park in your car. The access argument is b.s.

  12. LarryFine says:

    Have to agree with bB…

  13. Larry,

    That’s twice you’ve agreed with me recently……what fun is that?

  14. I would love to pack into the Queets Corridor again, camp on the sandbar by Sam’s creek, enjoy the vista and wonder of the Olympic National Park sans campers, 4 wheelers, Rv pride contestants, but physical limitations prevent same. Can I get a helicopter to drop me off for a week? I’ll be perfectly happy to sleep on the ground and get my water from the river, pack out my garbage and leave no footprint behind.

  15. BlaineCGarver says:

    People pretend that a heard of elk does not ravage an area, or a bear does not ravage young trees, and deer browse the tender shoots of new trees and shrubs…And PooP …. Personally, I think anyone that does not recognize Man as one of nature’s wonderous, and natural things is a complete fool.

  16. BlaineCGarver says:

    Herd of elk…..Man, sometimes my spelling is wretched.

  17. “Man, sometimes my spelling is wretched.”

    “Man as one of nature’s wonderous, and natural things….”


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