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3forks

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2014
Messages
317
Forest Service investigating helicopter incident in Bob Marshall Wilderness

By Chris Peterson
Editor | May 28, 2020 7:50 AM
Two horsemen on a recent trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness said they found something they never expected: A couple fishing on a sandbar of the South Fork of the Flathead after allegedly landing a helicopter there.
Federal law specifically prohibits motorized or mechanical use in the wilderness boundary with the notable exception of the airstrip at Schafer Meadows in the Great Bear Wilderness. Black Bear where the helicopter landed, however, is well over 20 miles from Schafer.
“Landing of aircraft, or dropping or picking up of any material, supplies, or person by means of aircraft, including a helicopter,” are prohibited in a National Forest Wilderness, federal law states.
One of the people part of the party that allegedly landed the helicopter in the Bob declined to comment, and Flathead National Forest officials say the matter is under investigation.
John, a man from Kalispell who asked that his last name not be used for fear of retribution, said he and another man were riding horses near Black Bear May 16. They had been seeing the helicopter buzzing over the South Fork of the Flathead earlier on that day, but about 3:30 p.m. they came upon the craft and a couple fishing. May 16 was the opening day of fishing season.
“We asked this guy if this was his helicopter, his reply was ‘ya nice way to go ha.’ My friend replies with ‘what makes you think that’s OK to park in the wilderness?’ His reply was, ‘we are below the high water line. It’s OK. Please move along. And if there’s any problems you have our tail numbers,’” John said.
At that point, John said, the conversation became heated and the man in the helicopter thought it best to leave.
According to photos provided by the horsemen and a search of public Federal Aviation Administration tail number records, the Bell Rotocraft helicopter is owned by WOS Holdings IV of Belgrade, whose principal owner is Sara Schwerin.
Schwerin is a pilot according to her social media posts and the photos of the couple standing next to the aircraft in the wilderness taken by the horsemen appear to match photos of Schwerin in other Internet posts, including a TV interview. It’s not clear if Schwerin was the pilot in this incident, as she was with another person, the male.
Schwerin is on the board of the Montana State University Advisory Board. She made her career in the banking industry, according to her Linkedin profile.
The horsemen said they turned over the information to Forest Service law enforcement.
The Forest Service said it is investigating the matter.
“We appreciate the reporting parties who came forward with the information and take it very seriously. It’s under investigation and we’ll let the public know as we have updates,” said Flathead National Forest spokeswoman Lauren Alley.
Contacted by phone, Schwerin said she had “no comment.”
The Forest Service also has airstrips at Meadow Creek, Spotted Bear, and Condon near, but not inside, the wilderness boundary.
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Pacific_Fork

Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2019
Messages
180
I cant say what I really feel because I dont want to get banned. Put politely, I really hope they get bent over in prison. Please keep this thread updated with the outcome of the investigation.
 

nowen22

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
65
It always pisses me off seeing people cut new trails on their side by sides where they aren't supposed to. This is on a different level though...
 

Nickofthewoods

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2018
Messages
409
Location
Colorado
The Horseback Riders taking photos and reporting the incident to the Forest Service is commendable. I would hope this type of violator would be made an example of and result in revocation of Pilot's Licenses instead of a slap on the wrist fine that these people could surely afford.
 

Sccritterkiller

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
389
The Horseback Riders taking photos and reporting the incident to the Forest Service is commendable. I would hope this type of violator would be made an example of and result in revocation of Pilot's Licenses instead of a slap on the wrist fine that these people could surely afford.
I agree but I have feeling the fine will be less than what it costs to fill up the helicopter. The fine will probably be the same if you drove a ATV in there.
 

LivetohuntID

Senior Member
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
465
Location
North Idaho
Isn't that what everyones fishing rig is? I just finished up my commute to work in my jet, hmmm, maybe this weekend I will see if I can fly my helicopter slow enough for trolling.
 

Tick

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2017
Messages
121
Hopefully the embarrassment from getting caught will keep them from doing it again. The fine they will receive will not affect their lifestyle. Good job by the men who reported it.
 

Reburn

Site Contributor
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
551
Location
Central Texas
Is it possible they are just ignorant of the law and the impact of doing something like this?
Not likely but coming soon to alaska.......

 

Jherek

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
96
What a joke...... With the pocket book they have, even if they get charged I'm sure it won't mean anything.
 
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