Changes have been submitted to the Gunnison County Planning Commission as Eleven Experience alters plans for winter helicopter Flights into Irwin. The new proposal by Eleven Experience, Scarp Ridge LLC would prohibit helicopters from flying over the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte as well as the Irwin townsite. The new plan also limits flights to winter-only and limits flights to 20 total per winter season, a flight being considered one landing and one takeoff. Pilots will also be required to adhere to restrictions set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding wilderness overflights.
Currently customers of Eleven Experience must fly in and out of the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, take the 35-40 minute drive to Crested Butte and from there, a snowcat to Lake Irwin. If a helicopter landing area were approved by the Planning Commission, customers would have the option to fly their own helicopters directly to Lake Irwin cutting down their travel time considerably.
Eleven Experience’s original proposed plan to construct a helicopter landing area was met with opposition from many citizens, both by letters and in person, at the February 2nd public hearing. Many of the concerns were about helicopter noise, safety issues, flight paths and the impact on the wilderness and wildlife. The original plan proposed by Eleven Experience was for year-round helicopter access and unlimited flights.
“We think the proposed changes address the public’s concerns,” says David Leinsdorf, attorney for Eleven Experience. “But that is ultimately a decision in the hands of the Planning Commission.”
The next public hearing is scheduled for Friday, April 6th at 9:00am in the Crested Butte Town Hall. Read more here.
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