Search & Rescue Planning | © NPS SAR MORA

2015 Funding Priority | Amount Needed $60,000 | FUNDED

funded_01 funded 01Kautz Creek Helibase, which lies at the confluence of Kautz Creek and the Nisqually River, has served as Mount Rainier’s hub of aviation activity for decades. The helibase has been heavily damaged by flooding in the last decade and the threat of further damage to the helibase in its current location is significant. Flooding in 2007 destroyed the commercial electrical power and network connectivity to Kautz Creek Helibase. Rather than reestablishing connectivity via conventional electrical and network cables, which could be compromised once again by future flooding, the park decided a self-contained mobile helibase operations support trailer was the right solution. Thanks in part to REI’s contributions in 2014, the park was able to purchase and equip a helibase operations trailer to serve as the office and communication hub for the helibase. The unit provides full connectivity via satellite, can be powered by battery, generator or shore power, and can be moved to practically any location at which a helibase is to be established. The remaining issue, now, is constructing an improved helibase on an optimal site.

While several options for relocating the park helibase were considered, the option to enlarge the current helibase to the north while moving its perimeter back from the Nisqually’s riparian zone to the south is the likely ultimate choice.To complete the project, the following will take place:

  • relocation of the access road
  • rehabilitation of the riparian area along the Nisqually River
  • removal of trees on the north side of the helibase
  • regrading, seeding and hardening of the helibase surface to prevent dusty and “brownout” conditions
  • construction of two to three concrete helibase pads (30′ x 30′)