Action Alert: Comment Now on Heliskiing Near Valdez, AK

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comments by April 12, 2024.

Photo by Tory Dugan

April 10, 2024

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comments on heliskiing on BLM-managed lands near Valdez, Alaska. The permits authorizing this use expire in May 2025, and the BLM is considering whether to issue permits to existing and potential new heliskiing companies for the next 10 years. This permit process is an opportunity to reduce conflict between heliskiing and ski touring in an area that is growing increasingly popular with both forms of winter recreation.

Location and User Conflict

The BLM manages a relatively small amount of the ski terrain near Valdez but the BLM lands near Thompson Pass – mile 36 to mile 56 on the Richardson Highway – are particularly important for human-powered skiers. However, under current management, heliskiing operations are allowed to guide clients on peaks easily accessed by skiers on foot, dropping in on those who are ascending from the road corridor. This creates more conflict with other recreationists than exists in other areas open to heliskiing.

Reducing User Conflict: How to Comment by April 12

We are asking the BLM to use this permitting process as a means for reducing user conflict. You can help by sending a letter to the BLM today – the comment period closes on Friday, April 12, 2024! Fill out the form below to send a letter to the BLM asking them to restrict heliskiing between mile 36 and 56 on the Richardson Highway.

If you have skied in this area and want to add details to the form letter we have provided at the comment button, your letter will be most impactful if it addresses the following questions: 

  • What activities do you participate in on these BLM managed lands during the months of February through May?   
  • What opportunities would you like to have available on these BLM managed lands during the months of February through May?   
  • Have you experienced any issues on these BLM manages lands? Please explain.  
  • To what extent should existing commercial heliski permits be modified, enhanced, and/or expanded?