The Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) is calling on all pilots to write to the Colorado River Valley field office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to impress upon field officer managers how important back country airstrips are to all pilots. RAF organizers impress the need for all general aviation pilots (not just those in Colorado) to speak up.
As luck would have it, RAF supporter Hap Pool of Vail, CO, just happened to see a draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Colorado River Valley and request for public comment. From an email to RAF followers: “The draft RMP makes no reference to the airstrips located on BLM land within the planning area. The BLM told Hap that they had no idea that recreational aviation even existed. This planning process began in 2008 with scoping meetings, but pilots in the area did not know about it due to lack of BLM notification to the aviation community. Now the only option to gain aviation input into the planning process is to suggest specific language that addresses aviation issues. The RAF and the Colorado Pilots Association (CPA) drafted wording changes and each organization will submit comments to the BLM. The RAF comments comprise eight pages of background information and detailed wording changes to the draft RMP.”
Here’s what can you do to preserve the Colorado airstrips!
Please write a brief letter supporting the RAF and CPA input to the draft RMP. Written letters (even postcards) demonstrate to the BLM that recreational aviation is alive and well, it has a national interest in the outcome of the final RMP and aviation should be considered in a positive manner in any RMP. It does not matter where you live, the BLM should hear from you to demonstrate the concern of pilots nationwide. Send your comments to:
BLM CO Colorado River Valley Field Office
2300 River Frontage Road
Silt, CO 81652
Letter writing Guidelines:You don’t have to live in Colorado to submit a letter. The BLM needs to know that these airstrips are of national importance.
1) Identify your subject (“CRV draft RMP comments”). The staff will then file your letter properly.
2) Identify yourself as a pilot and you want these comments filed under the topic of recreational aviation. Stress that you support the RMP language as submitted by the Recreational Aviation Foundation.
3) Write the letter in your own words, in your own writing style. Stick to a few basic bulleted points.
4) Be specific. Tell the BLM to include recreational aviation and airstrips within the final CRV RMP even though there was an inadvertent omission of airstrips in the draft RMP. Specifically mention the Roan Cliffs and Tepee Creek airstrips.
5) Cite personal experiences. Have you ever needed to land at a backcountry airstrip due to weather changes or mechanical problems? Have you flown a young or elderly or disabled person to a backcountry airstrip so that person could have a unique experience?
6) What do you like to do with your family? Airplane camp, hike, etc. If you have a photo of your family camped with your airplane at a public lands airstrip, include that.
7) Do you currently volunteer for backcountry airstrip maintenance work? If so, mention your commitment to participate in cooperative airstrip maintenance between the users and the Federal Land managers.
8) Above all, be polite. Public land managers are people, too, and deserve respectful treatment.
9) Be sure your address appears either at the top of the letter or below your signature. Ask to be placed on future mailing lists. Include your phone number.
The number of comments received by the BLM is as important as the quality. Encourage your family and friends to write a short note why they want the opportunity to fly to a recreational destination and enjoy the same experience that others enjoy, but using a different mode of transportation.
The deadline for comments is January 17, 2012. Do not wait until the last minute.
For questions, contact RAF BOD member Chuck Jarecki at:
Let’s show that the aviation community all across America is interested in this plan by overwhelming the BLM with positvie aviation comments.