During the 2012 Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium the NDPA began forming a relationship with the Recreational Aviation Foundation, or RAF. The RAF has been very active in Montana and we thought it might be valuable to partner with them here in North Dakota. One of their primary missions is to establish and protect back country airstrips. Brian Rau, the RAF’s North Dakota State Liaison, gave an update on two airstrips here in North Dakota. Here is part of the information he had to share at UMAS:
Elkhorn Ranchlands Airstrip: Up to this point we have been referring to this airstrip as the Ebert’s Ranch Airstrip, referring to the Eberts who were the last private owners of the property. The current owners, The US Forest Service, refer to the property as the Elkhorn Ranchlands so I would like us to start using the same terminology. As you recall from my presentation, this is a recent 2007 purchase by the Forest Service and has an existing grass airstrip that looks in fair condition. The airstrip is located approximately 20 miles north of Medora. The land use management plan has not been fully developed for this area, and we have a great opportunity to get Aviation Uses written into the plan. I am on the email list for developments on this property and will forward to you any information as it becomes available. If the information hits the media before I receive it, look for Elkhorn Ranchlands Plan Amendmentin the news article. The following is an email statement from Ron Jablonski, the district ranger for that area: “Elkhorn Ranchlands Plan Amendment is regaining some momentum, so it shouldn’t be too long before there’s something to comment on.” When this opportunity is opened up, we will need comments from all of you.
Medora Airstrip: A brief background for those who did not hear my presentation at the symposium: In the past, there was an airstrip on the butte immediately north of Medora (between Medora and I-94.) I and others would like to see that airstrip opened again. It is situated partially on Forest Service land and partially on National Park Service land. Anecdotal reports from some ND aviators who remember the airstrip 25 – 30 years ago indicate that it was closed mainly because of objections from the Park Service. Our current efforts are going to be making official contacts with the Park Service and to also explore the feasibility (is it long enough) to have an airstrip just on the Forest Service portion. Jeff Faught is out in that area often and has volunteered to help with making some contacts. Any other help would be greatly appreciated.
We at NDPA look forward to growing our partnership with the RAF. If you would like more information about the RAF visit their website at www.theraf.org.