February 9, 2012
By Alyssa J. Miller
Recreational aviation and backcountry strips in US Forest Service lands recently received a much-needed lift. Forest Service planners must now consider aviation in their plans, whether it be preserving or maintaining backcountry strips.
The agency released its preferred alternative to the US Forest Service Planning Rule, giving recreational aviation the same opportunities as activities that use on land and water. Forest planners must consider recreational opportunities in their plans. The new definition of recreation opportunities includes “non-motorized, motorized, developed, and dispersed recreation on land, water, and in the air.” The rule provides guidance for every national forest plan and planner in the United States.
“Aviation wasn’t even acknowledged in previous planning rules,” said John Collins, AOPA manager of airports. “We worked with the Recreational Aviation Foundation and Idaho Aviation Association to educate Forest Service officials on the value of aviation and the legitimacy of it as a recreational use of national forest land. Now, it must be considered just as all-terrain vehicles, boats, and other recreational motorized and nonmotorized vehicles.”
Backcountry strips provide access to remote areas of national forest land and serve as emergency landing areas in what otherwise would be unforgiving terrain. They also allow quicker aerial lifts for park users who have been injured.
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Recreational Aviation Foundation,
Changes to departure and arrival procedures in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport airspace will take effect Sept. 18, and AOPA is cautioning pilots to plan ahead for the new procedures.
– The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and three other general aviation groups Wednesday asked key members of the U.S. Senate to forgo legislation that could close St. Clair Municipal Airport (K39) near St. Louis, and instead follow established Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) procedures for the potential closure of airports that have accepted federal grants.
An industry group led by AOPA is asking the Senate not to pursue legislation that would close Missouri’s St. Clair Regional Airport.
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