USGS Aerial

A low-flying helicopter will be surveying minerals in the Salmon-Challis for the next month.

Hikers in the Salmon-Challis National Forest should not be alarmed to see a helicopter flying low above the trees in September and October, the U.S. Geological Survey announced this week.

The USGS is completing a survey of over 1,160 square miles of the Salmon-Challis National Forest, the agency said. Low-level flights will be conducted until Oct. 18.

“The instrumentation aboard the helicopter is passive, meaning it receives but does not emit signals for detection, and poses no health concerns or risks to humans, pets or wildlife,” the USGS stated.

The survey is specifically looking cobalt and other mineral resources in ancient rock layers. Aerial coverage will extend from Custer and Lemhi counties up to the Idaho-Montana border.

“The survey layout follows a grid pattern consisting of tightly spaced lines two to three miles apart. Flight elevations may vary from 300 to 1,000 feet above the ground,” the USGS stated. “All survey flights will occur during visible daylight hours … [T]he pilots are experienced and specially trained for low-level flying.”

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