published Monday, April 8th, 2013

Helicopter tours in Smokies agree to wide berth of nesting Eagles

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — The American Eagle Foundation and helicopter tour companies in the Smokies foothills have agreed on the distance the copters must keep from nesting eagles.

Foundation President Al Cecere told The Mountain Press several people called him, saying helicopter tours were flying close to a nest near Highway 66 in Sevier County.

After talking with Scenic Helicopter Tours and Smoky Mountain Helicopters, Cecere said he’s confident the companies will stay farther from the nest, because they care about it, too.

Jon Riggs of Smoky Mountain Helicopters said his company’s initial distance of 2,000 feet was sufficient, but the company has now agreed to stay a mile away from the nest and remain at least 1,000 feet above it.

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