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Bayview residents complain of helicopter tours’ noise

A group of people who live near scenic Lake Pend Oreille want to ground helicopter tours because of the noise.

Some Bayview residents say the helicopter makes the mountainous area sound like a war zone, especially when it takes off and lands from a parking lot in the middle of town.

“A lot of people were upset to the point where there could have been a monster rally in the parking lot to keep them from landing,” said Tom Lloyd, who lives on nearby Cape Horn Mountain. “It wouldn’t take us long to rally 200, 300 people.”

But promoter Phil Stephan says a vocal minority wants to shut down the flights.

“We are not going to let a handful of people decide what we do,” he told the Coeur d’Alene Press in a story Friday. “We have five businesses here that struggle and struggle to make it. They bank on, say, 12 weekends in the summer.”

Stephan said the helicopter tours on one day drew more than 50 people to town. He said they are intended to bring in business on summer weekends when no other events are planned. Stephan said the parking lot is a temporary landing pad, and a heliport will be built elsewhere if the tours become popular.

Stephan is promoting the helicopter tours for businessman Chan Karupiah, who owns five Bayview marinas. The Federal Aviation Administration said Inland Helicopters, which operates the helicopter, has the proper credentials and licensing.

Another concern of residents is that the helicopter takes tourists to view goats, which Lloyd said can be spooked by the machine.

Bayview resident Sheryl Puckett said the helicopter tour went over Echo Bay, a popular place to watch mountain goats.

“They don’t call it Echo Bay for nothing,” Puckett said. “Sound reverberates and amplifies in this area.”