Utah backcountry pilot shelter in the works

ESCALANTE, Utah — Support is growing for the construction of a backcountry pilot shelter at Escalante to be dedicated to Paul Bowmar, according to officials with the Recreational Aviation Foundation.

Bowmar and a passenger were killed when his Cessna 140 struck a power line between Escalante and Boulder in January. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that he was known as “the heart and soul of Escalante’s local airstrip and worked to improve its conditions for other pilots.” The City of Escalante has approved construction of the shelter to honor Mr. Bowmar.

Taking the lead on the project are Utah Recreational Aviation Foundation liaisons Wayne Loeber and Steve Durtschi; with support from Shep-Rock Foundation, Utah Back Country Pilots and the Recreational Aviation Foundation. The 13-foot by 25-foot structure includes running water and electricity. A fire pit will be installed nearby.

“What started in Paul’s local community as a dream has turned into a construction plan and a winning bid. With just that so far, donations are coming in,” said John McKenna, RAF president. “We’d like to see plenty of individuals supporting this, and are suggesting $10 to $20 donations – a ten-spot for a tent-spot, you could say.”

The three organizations have pledged to match up to $6,000 in individual donations for completion of the project.

“This matching concept should truly give everyone a reason to be part of the project,” McKenna added.

The location is the ideal jumping-off point to Utah backcountry flying and offers year-round recreation. The team is aiming for a June 15th dedication, which coincides with a memorial service for Paul Bowmar.

To donate to this project, go to TheRAF.org and select the “Escalante Pilot Shelter” link or mail a check to the RAF, 1711 W. College, Bozeman, Mont., 59715 marked “Escalante Shelter.”

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