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AOPA supports backcountry landing strips in Montana parkAOPA supports backcountry landing strips in Montana park

AOPA supports backcountry landing strips in Montana park

Pilots could get a couple more landing options in Lewis and Clark National Forest. That's because the park's travel management plan has identified locations for two new landing sites.

"AOPA strongly encourages the U.S. Forest Service to move ahead with the development of these landing sites," wrote Roger Cohen, AOPA vice president of regional affairs, in a letter to the forest supervisor. "General aviation and backcountry airstrips are important to transportation assets."

These strips not only allow visitor access to the park, but they provide emergency landing sites, a place to bring supplies for campers, and landing facilities for search and rescue, wildlife conservation, and aerial firefighting aircraft.

Unlike off-road vehicles, aircraft flying to these strips will not damage the soil. Plus the landing area is relatively small, and it does not expand over time.

"Generally speaking, backcountry airstrips are utilized by pilots with exceptional skill and aircraft capable of operating on unimproved airstrips," Cohen said. "These aircraft operators have the utmost respect for the environment and operate in such areas to enjoy the beauty of their surroundings."

The comment deadline has been extended until November 25. Comments can be sent to P.O. Box 869, Great Falls, Montana, 59403-0869 or submitted via e-mail. Include your complete name and postal mailing address in the e-mail. For more information, see the Montana Pilots' Association Web site.

October 28, 2005

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