Washington's Methow Valley Ranger District has issued a notice of noncompliance to a heli-skiing company that cut more than two dozen trees on a high ridge in the North Cascades. Mazama-based North Cascade Heli-Skiing illegally cleared and topped the trees in at least two areas in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in order to create better landing sites. Backcountry skiers took pictures of the stumps of whitebark pine, subalpine larch, and fire trees, some of which were around 300 years old. “They are a very slow-growing species on a very harsh site, so to reestablish trees is tough,” said Jennifer Zbyszewski, recreation manager for the Methow Valley Ranger District. The Forest Service and the district will work to determine a penalty for the outfit, which normally charges $985 for a day of skiing.
Via Seattle Times