Possibly the country’s only “clothing optional” airstrip is about to be officially recognized by the National Parks Service (NPS), and the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) is urging members to let the NPS know they support the initiative. The Saline Valley Warm Springs Airfield, better known as the Chicken Strip, is located adjacent to an abundant natural hot springs in Death Valley National Park. Many visitors don’t worry about fashion of any kind while camping there. Like all the other facilities at the springs, the strip was created by those who frequent the area and the NPS has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to legalize its existence and formalize its deal with the RAF to maintain it. Comments close at midnight Nov. 19 and can be submitted online.
The NPS seems pretty enthusiastic about keeping the airstrip, which is about 1400 feet long and 35 feet wide. “Retaining use of the airstrip would benefit visitor use and experience for those visitors who seek this type of recreation or those visitors who enjoy watching the aircraft fly into the Warm Springs area,” the NPRM reads. “For some visitors with injuries or disabilities and who have access to small planes, the Chicken Strip airstrip is the only way they can access the Warm Springs area because the drive is too long and harsh for them.” The only other way to the area is a bone-crushing four-hour drive on a rutted road.