Forest Service Supports Backcountry Strips

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Early this month, the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) signed a directive asking its managers to support aviation, citing backcountry airstrips as "an appropriate use of National Forest System lands." The USFS policy statement called for an inventory review and maintenance of USFS-controlled aviation-oriented facilities. And it drew positive reaction from the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF), which declared the action a result from meetings between the two groups. The RAF promotes aviation as a low-impact, high-reward activity for national park lands in that airstrips require minimal disturbance of the natural landscape and serve as trailheads for remote areas. RAF president John McKenna said of the directive, "We look forward to building on the partnership and the trust this document brings forth." The foundation already has some such programs in place.

The RAF promotes volunteer pilot involvement programs to help with maintenance of airstrips and development of cooperative relationships between pilots, USFS officials and other organizations. For more information on the RAF, visit its Web site.