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Idaho delegation argues for backcountry airstrips

U.S.F.S. considers restrictions in Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho's Congressional delegation recently asked the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to keep four backcountry airstrips in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness open to backcountry pilots.

Sens. Larry Craig and Mike Crapo and Reps. Mike Simpson and C.L. "Butch" Otter said access to the strips in critical for safety reasons and restricting access would run contrary to the legislation that authorized the Frank Church Wilderness.

"Dewy Moore, Mile-Hi, Simmonds, and Vines airstrips have been used by aviators for over twenty years. These backcountry airstrips provide citizen access to unique areas of the wilderness and serve a vital purpose in emergency operations," the delegation wrote in the letter to Secretary Ann Veneman.

The delegation also cited support for keeping the strips open from the Idaho Legislature and the Idaho Department of Transportation.