Trigger Gap, (17A) is a new recreational airstrip in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas. It lies on lands managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) above the Kings River.
“The RAF enabled this to happen,” said Chad Cox, aviation director for the Walton Family Foundation. “The Nature Conservancy also put a lot of trust in all of us on this one and they feel like we have been good stewards.”
The RAF raised funds for this new 3,000-foot turf airstrip through private donations. Its future is ensured by a long-term lease with TNC. Local RAF volunteers helped construct the airport and have committed to its ongoing maintenance.
“Our success is the result of having developed a great partnership with this international conservation organization,” said RAF Arkansas Liaison Dave Powell. “This new destination will help us broaden the community of recreational flyers. It has easy approaches and is plenty long.”
Runways are 10/28 and lined with cones on 200-foot spacing. Windsocks are located on the southwest and northeast corners.
There are fire rings and typically firewood is available on site.
At this time, there is no water, while a vault toilet is planned.
Campers will enjoy a great view over the Kings River, famous for small mouth bass fishing. As a special treat, Kings River Outfitters will pick up and return visitors.
RAF Director Tim Clifford visualized the potential of this location on Pension Mountain, and said the RAF is looking at parallel projects with the potential to develop miles of hiking and mountain biking trails connecting to the airstrip.
“This recreational destination is close to the large metropolitan area around Bentonville,” Powell said, “and it offers a beautiful outback experience for those new to this kind of flying.”
Trigger Gap is just 3.2 nm south of Carroll County Airport (4M1) where there are courtesy cars and services. Within an hour’s drive is Ridgefield, Missouri, and Big Cedar Lodge Resort, built by John Morris, founder and CEO of the famous Bass Pro Shops.
It features Top of the Rock Golf Course, wine and dining options, horseback riding, and folks can even rent a golf cart to enjoy miles of paths through Dogwood Canyon Nature Park and Lost Canyon Caves.
“The Native American Heritage Museum is there, which rivals the famous Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wyoming,” Clifford said.
Why Trigger Gap? The nearby bend in the river resembles a trigger, according to locals.
Why Pension Mountain? According to local historian M.D. Anglin, the name comes from the fact Civil War veterans settled there.
“Yankees drew a Federal pension, a pretty good wad for those times,” Anglin wrote. Some of their descendants still live there.
Review the RAF’s Trigger Gap safety briefing before flying in.
Notice of this new charted airfield will be published in the National Flight Data Digest, Issue 183.