Guide Open Season for Submission of New Outfitter/Guide Opportunities

The Chugach National Forest is accepting proposals during an Outfitter Guide open season from July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020 for submission of new outfitter/guide proposals for limited activities on the Glacier, Seward, and Cordova Ranger Districts. This opportunity is for operations starting in 2021 and limited to companies not already permitted to operate on the Chugach National Forest.

Proposals will be accepted for all locations and/or activities EXCEPT for the following:

  • Cordova Ranger District – Guided hunting and helicopter supported skiing.
  • Glacier Ranger District – Helicopter supported skiing, summer helicopter tours, outfitter and guide activities at Spencer Whistle Stop, summer activities on Portage Lake, guided hunting, and guided activities in Harriman Fiord and Barry Arm areas.
  • Seward Ranger District – Russian River, Russian River Falls Trail, Resurrection Pass Trail, Lost Lake/Primrose Trails, Palmer Creek Road, Ptarmigan Trail, Quartz Creek and Crescent Creek for fishing, helicopter supported skiing, summer helicopter tours, and guided hunting.

Proposals must pass an initial and second level screening before acceptance. Successful applicants will be processed in the order they are received. Approved applicants will receive two-year priority use permits with an option to extend for an additional 8 years provided the new permit holders receive successful performance evaluations.

Proposals must include:

  1. The desired type of authorized service or activity.
  2. A map of the proposed use area. 
  3. The allocation of use in terms of service days. A service day is a day or part of any day a client is on National Forest System lands.
  4. The mode of transportation.
  5. A completed SF299 Application
  6. A completed Operation and Safety plan.

A copy of the insurance policy covering the activities will be required prior to start of operations. A copy of the State of Alaska business license will be required once the proposal is approved.

Submitting a proposal does not guarantee that a permit will be issued.

Email the completed proposal package to Special Uses Service Team Dede Srb at debra.srb@usda.gov.  More information about the Open Season can be found at https://bit.ly/31bqqpZ or by contacting Dede Srb, at debra.srb@usda.gov or by phone at (907) 244-1300 or (907) 424-4726.

Past Actions

Temporary Heliski Opportunities Commercially Guided Helicopter Skiing on the CRD

The Chugach National Forest is determining interest in temporary special use permits to provide commercially guided helicopter skiing on the Cordova Ranger District.  Up to three temporary use permits may be awarded to separate, qualified companies to operate in the areas displayed on the Tasnuna and Scott/Sheridan Temporary Heliski Map. Each issued permit will be limited to 200 service days. These business opportunities are for the 2020 helicopter skiing season and will be available for operations from January 1 through April 30, 2020.

Issuance of a temporary special use permit does not commit the Chugach National Forest to authorize this outfitting and guiding use in the future. Temporary special use permits are not subject to renewal.

The Chugach National Forest seeks to expand guided helicopter skiing opportunities on the Cordova Ranger District of the Chugach National Forest. Up to three temporary permits for up to 200 days each for the 2020 season may be approved through temporary special use authorizations. The Cordova Ranger District is seeking public input to identify any specific concerns related to these opportunities. Public comments are being accepted from August 16 through August 30.

Dates of temporary permit operation are from January 1 through April 30, 2020. These authorizations are within three distinct permit areas in the Tasnuna and Scott-Sherman Glacier Area (Figure 1 Map below) of the Chugach Mountains located 10-25 miles north and east of Cordova, Alaska. These lands are managed by the Cordova Ranger District, Chugach National Forest. The temporary special use authorizations will include operational stipulations to address wildlife, recreational, and community impacts.

Map of the area being considered for permitting: 

Map showing temporary Heli-ski Authorization zones in the Tasnuna and Scott-Sheridan Glacier Area.
Figure 1: Temporary Heli-ski Authorization zones in the Tasnuna and Scott-Sheridan Glacier Area.

How to Submit Comments and Request More Information

Please submit comments via email by August 30, 2019 5 p.m. to cnfheli@usda.gov

Contact Cordova District Ranger, Steve Namitz at steven.namitz@usda.gov for more information.

Proponent Process and Deadlines

An email response to cnfheli@usda.gov stating interest in the Cordova potential business opportunity must be received by 5:00 pm (AST) October 1, 2019. 

If interest exists, those businesses stating interest will be notified via email by October 4, 2019 to provide the information stated under “Qualified Proponents and Required Information” by 5:00 pm (AST) November 4, 2019.

Proposals must be submitted electronically to cnfheli@usda.gov (no hard copy or faxed submissions will be accepted.)

Solicitation Documents for Helicopter-based Outfitter and Guiding on the Cordova Ranger District

If you need more information on the proposals, or would like to provide comment, please submit an email to cnfheli@usda.gov.

Past Business Opportunities

The U.S. Forest Service has determined there is a need to provide helicopter skiing as part of the range of recreational opportunities offered on the Chugach National Forest and to respond to increasing demand for this service. The Forest Service is soliciting proposals from interested parties for one outfitter and guide special use permit for commercially guided helicopter skiing on the Seward Ranger District within East Ptarmigan-Mt. Ascension for 414 days. 

The anticipated effective date for this permit will be issued initially for two years. This business opportunity is for the 2020 helicopter skiing season and will be available for operations from December 15, 2019 through April 20, annually. Satisfactory performance at the completion of the initial two-year period could result in extending the permit term up to an additional eight years.

Application Process

All applications must be submitted in a sealed envelope to:

Acting Forest Supervisor, Sharon LaBrecque
Attention: Kelly Chase Veach,
161 East 1st Avenue, Door 8, Anchorage, AK 99501.

Applicants must submit one original and four paper copies, and one electronic copy (thumb drive or disc) of their application package and supporting documents. Applications must be signed and must include their address, telephone number, and e-mail address.

Fax or email submissions will not be accepted. Applications for the business opportunity must be received by 5:00 pm (AST) June 3, 2019. Postmarks will not be honored.

Commercially Guided Helicopter Skiing Business Prospectus

The prospectus describes the business opportunity in general terms for commercially guided helicopter skiing services authorized by the Forest Service within the Area. Applicants must review all sections of this prospectus to determine the full scope of a future permit holder’s responsibilities under a priority special use permit.

Area Description and Maps:

The Kenai geographic area is approximately 35 square miles of sweeping transition from ocean to mountains, which results in an equally transitional climate. The mountainous area has warmer summer temperatures, colder winter temperatures, and less precipitation than the maritime area. Elevations across the Kenai Peninsula Geographic Area range from sea level along Turnagain Arm to over 5,500 feet along the crest of the Kenai Mountains.

The Kenai geographic area receives the most motorized use on the Chugach National Forest due to the access from the highway system, proximity to more than 60 percent of the population of Alaska. In the winter, snow machine tours, backcountry skiing, and helicopter skiing are the most popular commercially guided activities.

Helicopter Skiing Permit Location Map

map of heliski area

Additional Documents in PDF format

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Responses to recently asked questions, May 23, 2018

Questions about this prospectus should be directed to cnfheli@fs.fed.us  or to Kelly Chase Veach, Natural Resource Program Specialist, at the Seward Ranger District office.

Appointments can be arranged between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm Monday through Friday at 33599 Ranger Station Spur (MM 23.5), Seward, AK, 99664. Phone number is 907-288-7755 or email  Kelly Chase Veach.



Key Contacts

Special Uses Service Team

Team Lead
Teresa Paquet
907-754-2314
teresa.paquet@usda.gov

Seward District
Monika Adam
907-288-7720
monika.c.adam@usda.gov

Glacier District
Phil Zumstein
907-754-2315
phillip.zumstein@usda.gov

Cordova District
Debra (Dede) Srb,
p: 907-424-4726
debra.srb@usda.gov



https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/chugach/passes-permits/event-commercial/?cid=FSEPRD561231