Partnership with the aviation community should help shape a long-range transportation plan being developed for 221 million acres of federally managed lands in Alaska, AOPA said.
Federal lands make up about 60 percent of Alaska, giving aviation and backcountry airstrips unique importance, providing members and the public access to national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests and lands supervised by the Bureau of Land Management, AOPA said in formal comments on the Alaska Federal Lands Long Range Transportation Plan. Members may submit comments on the planning proposals by April 11.
In many cases, aviation “is the only practical means of timely access” for routine or emergency access to managed lands, wrote AOPA Alaska Regional Manager Tom George in AOPA’s formal comments submitted April 4.
“Knowing the location and condition of backcountry airports, airstrips or landing areas appears to be a need that all the agencies share,” he wrote. “AOPA encourages taking a collaborative approach across the agencies to map these resources, and including their location and descriptions in the appropriate aviation databases in a consistent and useful manner.”
George noted that “the desire to partner is mentioned throughout the draft plan, and AOPA supports that concept.”
He offered specific ways for agencies with land management responsibilities to adopt a partnership approach with the aviation community including the effort to inventory backcountry airports and landing areas; maintain backcountry airports in cooperation with stakeholders; encourage federal agencies to learn about the airports on their lands; and maintain communications with the aviation community as plans are developed.
George also noted in the association’s comments that AOPA appreciated the comprehensive approach being taken in the project, including recognition of aviation as a “critical factor” in the transportation planning.
Members may review and comment by April 11 at the LRTP website, or by mail to Steve Hoover; Attn: Alaska LRTP; 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 700; Denver, CO 80237.