Aviation Noise Coming to a Mountain Near You

Most folks move to the mountains for the peace and quiet, connecting with nature and all that.  My husband and I live in a particularly remote neighborhood.  Each time we hear an airplane flying over the mountain it’s jarring — so jarring that it often results in a slight feeling of fear.  It sounds more like loud fighter jets. I frequently flashback to Red Dawn.  Patrick Swayze is definitely on his way up the mountain.  Alas, it’s always a passenger plane, and I’m up here with Ned, not Patrick….sigh.  

As such, it was particularly upsetting to learn of the recent decision by the FAA to centralize traffic in Denver, with one central route to be over Coal Creek Canyon, and surrounding areas (Gilpin County and Golden Gate Canyon State Park).  This is part of a larger FAA initiative, NextGen, which seeks to “modernize U.S. airspace”.  It appears that the NextGen initiative is targeted at multiple metropolitan areas around the U.S., whereby routes will be reduced and streamlined.  To alert communities, various “workshops” were held to advise communities of the change and how it might impact them.  For instance, when I browsed the supporting FAA documentation there were noise studies, which I suspect would help inform those workshops.  While it appears that certain parts of the mountain communities may be impacted, none were consulted or alerted of the pending changes.  Most of the community were made aware only days before a comment period was ending.  

Whether there was or was not sufficient community communication, it’s upsetting to see small mountain communities feeling unheard and uninvolved in larger public initiatives (this is not the first one in Coal Creek Canyon).  While I don’t have a great answer in this particular case — other than please tell the FAA not to fly loads of planes over my house as I suspect the noise study did not take into account its topography at 8k feet — I am keen to know what other folks think of this initiative. 

A good local reference article is here, and some wider communications here. Let me know what you think!

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