ITD’s request to add the Reed Ranch Airstrip to Idaho’s network of state-operated aviation facilities cleared an important hurdle following a U.S. Forest Service environmental assessment (EA) and April 16 ruling. The Payette National Forest (PNF) issued a Decision Notice/Finding of No Significant Impact (DN/FONSI) for the Reed Ranch Airstrip Project and an alternative that includes the following provisions:
ITD initiated a request to assume operation of the airstrip more than two years ago. The Forest Service acquired the parcel as part of an exchange with Brundage Mountain Resort in 2006.
At that time, the Forest Service notified ITD’s Division of Aeronautics of its intent to develop a plan for the airstrip, including the possibility of operating it as a public-use facility. “If a proposal to maintain or develop it as a public aviation facility administered by the state were developed subsequent to the exchange, the PNF would process the proposal as appropriate,” the Forest Service announced in 2006.
The airstrip, located about 18 miles east of McCall in the rugged South Fork Salmon River drainage, was a private facility that had been accessible to aviators by permission only. When the Forest Service acquired the ranch from Brundage, it was defined as “not for public use” because of possible unreported hazards. “ Prior permission required.”
ITD’s application requests a special use permit that would allow Idaho to operate Reed Ranch Airstrip as a public-use facility, subject to conditions and limitations, and Forest Service approval of an annual operating plan.
Interested parties have 45 days to appeal the Forest Service’s finding of no significant impact.