Recreational Aviation Foundation has Busy Year
Recreational Aviation Foundation ?
Efforts continue to create and enhance recreational destinations BOZEMAN, MT The non-profit Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF), headquartered here with national membership, has had a very productive year. The totally-volunteer group was integral to the completion of the beautiful and full-service pilot camping facility at the Bozeman airport (BZN). RAF President John McKenna commented, ? It couldn?t have happened without a lot of cooperation between the RAF and the Bozeman Airport Authority, but it took the RAF with its mission to expand recreational opportunities to get it done.? Columbus, MT, also boasts of an attractive, comfortable pilot shelter, done by RAF supporters led by Alan Drain of Columbus. Near West Glacier, MT, a small group of area RAF volunteers is turning a lot of sweat, many picnic lunches and some chain saw gas into a rustic pilot shelter in the beautiful setting at Ryan Field. Completion of this facility is expected in the spring. Marv Hessler, RAF supporter from Great Falls, donated a 1992 Grand Voyager van for a courtesy car and Mr. Hessler donated architectural services for the concrete foundation. By 2009 the RAF expects to open Ryan Field to public use pending the resolution of a safety issue on adjoining Forest Service property.
RAF support was instrumental in securing approval for the Russian Flats airstrip on the Lewis & Clark National Forest travel plan. ?There is much more to be done there,? stated McKenna, ?but with approval, we look forward to cooperating with the appropriate folks to make it a feasible recreational destination,? he added.
An essential project that was completed was the 49-page ?Recreational Airstrips on Public Lands?, a comprehensive reference guide for land managers. Montana Director Chuck Jarecki researched the history, issues and solutions and included examples, photos and precedent-setting agreements that will be a valuable aid in future decisions regarding the feasibility of recreational airstrips.
Part of the necessary research in producing this Guide was provided by the Wolf Aviation Fund grant, which enabled the RAF to contract for legal assistance in researching the recreational-use statues in 12 western states. The primary outcome of this comprehensive research was the drafting and eventual passage of Montana Senate Bill 318, during the 2007 session, clarifying the limits of the liability of private land owners with airstrips on their property. This landmark statute, favorable to land owners, should provide important precedent to the remaining states with no aviation use in their current recreational use statues.
RAF is working with the folks in New Mexico and Maine on recreational aviation projects in their respective states.
If you are concerned about the increasing pressures that reduce recreational aviation opportunities around the country, we encourage your membership in this dynamic non-profit organization. See recreationalaviationfoundation.org for details and contact information.
Press Liaison, Recreational Aviation Foundation
Polson, Montana 406-883-4677