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Are you ready for some Zoom Meetings?

Thanks to Board Member Wendy Lessig, you've likely heard that the BLM is hosting two virtual meetings to discuss San Rafael Swell Recreation Area updates, backcountry airstrips and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern within the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area, and the Dingell Act Resource Management Plan Amendments planning process and scoping themes, as related to the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area. If you'd love to attend and support backcountry aviation, please read below for more info.

What should I say?

Defending backcountry aviation's rightful place in these meetings is something we've been learning how to be good at for the last 25 years. If you do plan on attending, we'd suggest that you articulate your comments to address some of these key points:

  1. Backcountry airstrips provide access to public lands with the least amount of impact required. Airplanes require less surface than other vehicles to access remote areas and their noise signature is temporary in nature, unlike other modes of transportation. In addition, backcountry aviators are some of the most respectful users of public lands.
  2. Organizations like the UBCP take the charge of maintaining the airstrips as to keep them safe and accessible, many times through volunteer efforts and funds generated by membership dues. Through our Airstrip Database, pilots are able to view near real-time information about the condition of these airstrips and our members take the initiative to address any discrepancies that are reported.
  3. Airstrips that have been in existence prior to the enactment of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 which enables them to remain open and accessible for public use. And in the over 25 years of working with the BLM regarding airstrips, we've maintained a great working relationship and have proven time after time that backcountry aviators are some of the greatest stewards of our public lands. 
  4. Backcountry airstrips serve as more than starting points for many public lands users. Emergency operations, search and rescue missions, access points for those with disabilities, fire and ambulatory efforts, and more benefit from having access points located across our public lands. Furthermore, overflying aircraft benefit from an open, accessible, and safe network of landing airstrips should a need to land at a place other than their intended destination may arise.
When making comments, it is important that you speak from personal experience and avoid repeating prepared statements like those above. Feel free to interject some of the joys that backcountry aviation brings to you. And always keep it positive. We're not in a contest of opinions, and experience has shown that working together we are able to accomplish more than we ever imagined.

Airstrips that may be discussed in this meeting include Mexican Mountain, Cedar Mountain, Hidden Splendor, Cliff Dweller Flat, McKay Flat, Temple Mountain, Sage Brush Bench, among others nearby.

Okay, so where is this thing?

Here's the information provided by the BLM:

The Bureau of Land Management will hold an online meeting of the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area Advisory Council on Feb. 16 and 17, 2022. The meeting will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 16 and from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Feb. 17.  

The public is welcome to attend the meeting and will be given an opportunity to address the Council each day. The scheduled times for the public to address the Council are Feb. 16 from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Feb. 17 from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Depending on the number of people wishing to comment, the amount of time for an individual’s oral comments may be limited. 

Members of the public are invited online or via phone and can register to attend on the BLM's Zoom for Government meeting registration page:

More information from the BLM regarding the meeting can be found by clicking here. And if you have any questions about the event, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We'll be in attendance at both of these meetings and will share what we learn with you afterwards.

But wait! There's more!

If you haven't heard, the Division of Aeronautics is proud to host the first ever Utah Aeronautics Conference! And while there's been some sticker shock as to the cost of the event in the past, our good friend Jared Esselman has graciously offered us our own promo code to take $200 off the price of admittance! Three days of fun, collaboration, and learning (and food!) are ahead of us, and the UBCP will be in attendance at the event sharing some backcountry safety information in a few breakout sessions. Use the promo code UtahAeroUBCP by April 1st to take advantage of this huge discount!

Airstrip Condition Reports are always appreciated! 
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