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Thread: Death Valley & Chicken Strip

  1. #1

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    Death Valley & Chicken Strip

    It’s time to stand up and be counted as a Backcountry Pilot. Death Valley National Park has begun a major planning process for the Saline Valley area. This planning area includes the famous Chicken Strip located next to the Saline Valley Hot Springs. The planning process has begun with a “scoping period” during which the public is encouraged to participate and voice their concerns about what they believe the final plan should include. We, the public, have until August 6, 2012, to make ourselves heard. Three public meetings have been held in May and the Recreational Aviation Foundation was at every meeting supporting our use of this airstrip. It’s our turn to do something in support of ourselves. The ONLY three ways we can now be heard are:
    1. Log onto the Death Valley National Park web site and comment at:
    http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document...cumentID=47178
    2. Write a comment or letter to:
    ATTN: Saline Valley Management Plan
    Superintendent,
    Death Valley National Park
    P.O. Box 579
    Death Valley, CA 92328

    3. Send an e-mail to:
    DEVA_Planning@nps.gov

    What we need is a high VOLUME of brief, articulate comments to make it clear that the flying community is VERY serious about keeping the Chicken Strip open. But do not go off half-cocked. This is a discussion, not a fight. What will help us the most in this effort is intelligent and thoughtful comments as to the safety and capability of the flying community. Yelling will not be heard. Intelligent conversation and logic will be. The RAF has a proven record using this method and it works.

    Pilots are the most highly trained and skilled of all the users of public lands. Aircraft provide access to the hot springs with no impact on the land.

    Please make a point of commenting and making sure your fellow pilots have commented before the window closes on August 6, 2012.
    Blind copy your comments to the RAF at: contact@theraf.org.
    If you have any questions, contact RAF CA Liaison Rick Lach: rlach@theraf.org.

    Thank you all,
    John McKenna
    President RAF
    John McKenna

  2. #2
    SJ's Avatar
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    Folks, one of the things I learned at the RAF summit was how important it is for us to make comments and write letters in our own words, not just cut and paste someone else's. The letters are really important, don't wait until it is too late.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  3. #3
    btracy's Avatar
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    How about some basic outline for a letter. I understand the original and not a cut and paste but its also hard to write on a strip that I haven't had an opportunity to visit yet. A letter telling about visiting the peaceful are and the nice tree and green grass may not work very well.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by btracy View Post
    How about some basic outline for a letter. I understand the original and not a cut and paste but its also hard to write on a strip that I haven't had an opportunity to visit yet. A letter telling about visiting the peaceful are and the nice tree and green grass may not work very well.
    I know make them a deal, tell them they they can have the airstrip if you guys can land anywhere in the park. Oh thats right its death valley and they have endangered Dirt.

  5. #5
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Dear Sir,

    Please accept my comments about Chicken Strip in the Death Valley National Park, and place them into the record.

    I am a pilot, and own an aircraft.

    I spend x amount of time flying low level/in the back country.

    While flying, I see (insert type of man made damage like horse trails, jeep trails, roads)

    While with other pilots I observe (insert good behavior including picking up litter, helping lost hikers)

    In groups pilots utilize airstrips for (insert your entertainment but keep it proper)

    We as a group really appreciate the use of this strip as an access point because my aged (mother, father, gradfather, eaton) can no longer hike or walk any distance...




    Thoughts?
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  6. #6
    SteveE's Avatar
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    Ya, I have a thought for you. .......

  7. #7
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveE View Post
    Ya, I have a thought for you. .......

    Just got an invite for a fish scouting trip on an un-named bay, on a BIG beach, with lots of streams, and almost NO access except through this company...

    Eaton, you coming?

    it is not in Death Valley at a place called Chicken Strip...

    I sent my letter.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  8. #8

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    Folks,

    Below is the "official" letter the RAF will send. You are welcome to look it over for "ideas"

    John McKenna

    Saline Valley Management Plan
    Superintendent, Death Valley National Park
    P.O. Box 579
    Death Valley, CA 92328


    Subject: Saline Valley Warm Springs Management Plan and EIS


    Dear Planning Committee:


    The Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) is a national organization with members in fifty states. The mission of the RAF is “Keeping the legacy of recreational aviation strong by preserving, maintaining, and creating public use recreational and backcountry airstrips nationwide”.


    The RAF would like to offer the following scoping comments in regard to the Saline Valley Warm Springs Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Specifically, the RAF is concerned about continued private aircraft access to the area by use of what is known as Chicken Strip.


    Chicken Strip provides a minimal impact means of accessing the Warm Springs of Saline Valley. There has been an airstrip in the area for decades with no remarkable terrestrial damage, especially when compared to other means of access.


    The RAF offers some specific points of information:
    - Chicken Strip offers many folks who would not be able to endure the arduous overland journey, especially handicapped persons or disabled veterans, the opportunity to visit this unique and special area.
    - Death Valley National Park (DVNP) and the RAF have a current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which provides for RAF assistance in the maintenance of the three airstrips within DVNP. This includes Chicken Strip. Recently, under provisions of the MOU, a group of aviation volunteers re-smoothed the airstrip following some minor washing of the runway surface.
    - Aircraft using Chicken Strip are obviously limited to the foot print of the airstrip and parking area, unlike other motorized means of transportation which may easily stray onto other areas besides designated travel routes. Once an aircraft lands and shuts down its engine, it remains parked until ready to depart the area. Aircraft do not go “off trail”.
    - Chicken Strip provides a ready means for DVNP personnel to access the area with the Furnace Creek based NPS aircraft.
    - The 2002 DVNP General Management Plan states “Provide access to points of interest within the Park by a variety of means, including automobiles, tour buses, four-wheel-drive vehicles, horses, hiking and facilities for private aircraft”. Chicken Strip fits in with this management plan.
    - For many people, an aircraft is the only means to visit the area. Most vehicles cannot be used over the primitive, minimally maintained access road.


    The RAF has a proven track record working with the USFS and the BLM. In the case of the BLM, the RAF worked closely with the planning team for the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana from 2003 through 2008. Six primitive airstrips were written into the final plan and the RAF assists the Montana Pilots Association with the maintenance of those airstrips.


    In summary, the RAF supports the continued use of Chicken Strip and will work in partnership with DVNP in the maintenance of the airstrip to insure that it remains in a safe and usable condition for not only the flying public but for NPS personnel.


    Sincerely,






    John McKenna, Jr., President RAF
    John McKenna

  9. #9
    barbwire's Avatar
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    Just sent my letter. ---- we have to try and keep the wolves at bay----

  10. #10
    Coyote Ugly's Avatar
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    What kind of gets ya, is that these things just never go away, it is just such a constant battle trying to keep these kinds of things open for us. When a new Ranger takes office, this will start over again, or when they decide arbitrarily again to make a new "Master Plan", or at anyone's whim in the powers that be, this whole process can just keep repeating and repeating. This is just a small example of how a whole bunch of our freedoms are constantly at risk of being limited or lost.

    It's just so easy for me to get frustrated with the processes. I guess there is no other choice but to keep playing the game, but, Damn...
    "Pops Dory"
    They used to say there are no old, bold pilots, Hell, looka here...

  11. #11
    aktango58's Avatar
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    At some point, I think we as motorized users need to get organized a bit, and go on the offensive.

    We have been protecting our current use areas from attack... it is time we ask for more areas being opened up to us. If we start asking for more all the time, sooner or later the idea of cutting areas off is going to get lost with the agencies responding to us wanting more.

    I will bet that there are more motorized users than non-motorized. The problem is that the agencies do not consider the car to get to the location as 'motorized'. Only the use from the car out into the areas are counted.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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