Utah backcountry pilot shelter dedicated

ESCALANTE, Utah – Thanks to the number of folks responding to the Recreational Aviation Foundation plea of “a ten-spot for a tent-spot,” the Escalante pilot shelter was adequately funded and nearly completed in time for its June 15 dedication to local pilot and aviation enthusiast Paul Bowmar, who died in an aircraft accident in January.

About 100 folks attended its dedication.

The RAF partnered with Utah BackCountry Pilots and Shep-Rock Foundation to match individual donations. Donations are still being accepted and any excess funds will go to future Utah projects, according to RAF officials.

With the help of Escalante City, Paul’s widow Linda Mansell, Myron Porter and many volunteers, Mark Austin donated his time, arranged for all materials, and while swinging a hammer supervised work on the shelter.

Volunteers installed the custom engraved “RAF Fire Hub” style fire ring and prepared tent sites. The shelter, designed by Gordon Rock, will have ungalvanized corrugated steel roof, siding and features, “so it will rust to a nice earth tone,” Rock said. It has a barbeque, wash basin, electric power, water and picnic tables.

“This new site adds one of the finest flying-in camping destinations in the west,” said Wayne Loeber, RAF Utah liaison and construction volunteer.

“We were thrilled at the number of individuals supporting this project,” said John McKenna, RAF president, adding, “There seems to be a lot of heart and soul in this fund raiser.”

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