Backcountry strips: Protecting an endangered species

April 7, 2010

The challenge and beauty of backcountry flying entice pilots to remote airstrips, and AOPA and the Recreational Aviation Foundation are working to protect these strips so that they remain open to pilots for generations to come.

As part of their efforts, the two organizations recently attended a U.S. Forest Service forum to discuss the agency’s proposed planning rules for forest land. Forest Service representatives, environmental groups, and other stakeholders are presenting their views of how the rules should be written, and so AOPA is making sure GA’s voice is heard and that any new rules do not negatively impact the upkeep of or access to backcountry airstrips.

“We are learning more about the federal view, how other stakeholders feel, and are developing the relationships we need to be effective advocates and ensure aviation is included as a stakeholder,” said John Collins, AOPA manager of airports. “We will stay actively engaged throughout the rulemaking process and during planning efforts at individual national forests.”

AOPA encourages members to get involved in educating federal officials about the importance of backcountry airstrips, which also serve as critical emergency landing sites. Members can participate in roundtables near them.