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June 20, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
An inactive airstrip on an island in Lake Michigan could soon become the gateway to a pristine recreational destination 21 nautical miles out from Charlevoix on the mainland.
The Recreational Aviation Foundation announced an agreement with the Michigan Deptartment of Natural Resources giving the Montana-based, nonprofit organization authorization to recondition and use the airfield on North Fox Island. The strip has been idle for about six years after a land transfer between the state and a developer put the entire island under state management. During the period, pilots called for access, but terms were not forthcoming until the Recreational Aviation Foundation concluded discussions with officials.
“It will be a magnificent recreational destination,” said Brad Frederick, the foundation’s state liaison in Michigan in a news release. “It’s on a beautiful island covered in solid northern forest, surrounded by multi-colored blue Lake Michigan freshwater. It’s a rare privilege and great responsibility to use and protect the island’s integrity.”
The Recreational Aviation Foundation said the organization also has received a “tentative go-ahead” to plan for the reopening of Two-Hearted airstrip on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, pending an agreement with adjacent private property owners. The strip is located on the Two-Hearted River near Lake Superior, and could provide access to canoeing, fishing, and camping.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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