Thursday, November 20, 2014

Have your say about helicopter training

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 11:59 AM

click to enlarge A Chinook takes off from Camp Marmal in Afghanistan, at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains. High altitude pilot traning is proposed for land southwest of Colorado Springs. - SGT. FELIX ACEVEDO
  • Sgt. Felix Acevedo
  • A Chinook takes off from Camp Marmal in Afghanistan, at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains. High altitude pilot traning is proposed for land southwest of Colorado Springs.

Another public hearing has been scheduled regarding Fort Carson's application for use of Bureau of Land Management land southwest of Colorado Springs  and north of Cañon City. The first hearing was held in Cañon City on Oct. 7, and the public comment period was to expire on Nov. 7.

But now, public comment will be accepted until Dec. 19, according to a statement from BLM.

"We are reopening the comment period because residents in Park and Teller counties requested an additional public scoping meeting," BLM spokesman Kyle Sullivan says in an email. "We wanted to ensure that their comments would be captured in the draft Environmental Analysis."

Carson wants to use the land for "High Altitude Mountain Environmental Training (HAMET) for the Combat
Aviation Brigade stationed at Ft. Carson (as a tenant unit – permanently based at Fort Carson)
as well as for deploying Combat Aviation Brigades throughout the Army and other armed
services (non-tenant units)," the post says in its development plan.

The independent reported on the issue in a cover story, "Hard landings," March 19, 2014.

The plan seeks permission over decades to use 235 acres of the BLM land for 43 landing zones. Here's the proposal:

The meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 in Cripple Creek at the Heritage and Information Center, 9283 Highway 67. This is located just outside Cripple Creek. A presentation will be made at 5:30 p.m. the meeting is jointly sponsored by BLM and Fort Carson.

Here's the BLM's release:
Fort Carson has been using public lands in the Royal Gorge Field Office for High Altitude Mountain Environment Training under casual use since 2010. In 2013, Fort Carson requested a longer term agreement with BLM for HAMET activities. The HAMET program is designed to provide pilots experience flying and landing helicopters in high elevation, mountainous terrain. Casual use has occurred on 27 helicopter landing zones on BLM-managed public lands.

Fort Carson has submitted a Plan of Development to the BLM. The BLM is analyzing this plan through an open public process, and would like your help to identify what issues and concerns should be addressed in the EA and alternatives before the BLM begins drafting the document.

For more information about the use of BLM lands for HAMET activities, please visit the Royal Gorge Field Office website at:

This scoping period will run from Nov. 19 to Dec. 19, 2014. Comments concerning the proposed action, alternatives and identification of environmental issues are most helpful. For additional information or to submit a comment, please contact Nancy Keohane at 719-269-8531 or email comments to Keep up with Royal Gorge Field Office planning efforts at

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

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