Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Decision on Crater Lake helicopter tours will take years to make

August 4, 2009, 11:27 am

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A company wants to fly helicopter tours over Crater Lake National Park, but the Federal Aviation Administration says it will take "several years" to consider the proposal.

Managers of the nation's deepest and clearest lake want to see whether flights will significantly disrupt one of the rarities of national parks — silence.

Park officials also want to make sure that flights do not bother northern spotted owls and peregrine falcons nesting in areas near the lake, said park Superintendent Craig Ackerman. Tour boats on the lake already are regulated for noise.

Located at the crest of the Cascade Range in southern Oregon, Crater Lake was formed after a volcanic eruption more than 7,000 years ago.

Leading Edge Aviation has applied for permission to fly over the lake 300 times a year with the number of flights per day and times of year depending on demand, said company vice president Travis Warthen.