...Unless You're In Hulett, Wyoming
But there are still those who think airports are a good thing, even if they don't have a lot of airplanes to use them. Take, for example, the folks in Hulett, Wyo., population 427. They figured they weren't getting their share of the more than half a million tourists heading to Devils Tower National Monument or appreciating the other amenities of their area, so they convinced the FAA to fund an impressive new airport. Built on donated land, with about $6.1 million in federal grants, the airport sports a 75-foot by 5,500-foot paved runway, radio-activated runway lights, a Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) system and is certified for use by business jets. And although only a handful of airplanes of any type have landed there since it opened last September (three to four operations a week), there are already some expansion plans. Hulett mover and shaker Jim Nieman has built a golf resort and housing development and there's talk that developers from Jackson Hole are interested in the area because of its natural beauty. Should all that money come Hulett's way, the airport will be ready with a 1,000-foot extension on the runway to accommodate bigger aircraft, an FBO, hangars and a fuel depot. Although there is some skepticism from local officials, Nieman is steadfastly optimistic. "I think the airport will accelerate growth in this area," he told the Rapid City Journal.