The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages the 375,000 acres of land in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, is moving forward with a proposal to allow landings at six of the 10 backcountry airstrips in the monument. Last year, AOPA filed comments supporting the plan to keep open and maintain these airstrips for pilots. However, AOPA requested that the BLM consider pilot safety when it closes four of the strips. AOPA explained that obstructions should not be placed on the runway, nor should ditches be dug across the runway, which would harm a pilot trying to land there in an emergency situation. If the BLM adopts the proposed 20-year plan, it will be the first time the bureau has given official approval for recreational use of these airstrips.
September 22, 2006