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Public Statements

Supporting Backcountry Airstrips and Recreational Aviation

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 1473, as amended, introduced by the gentleman from Montana (Mr. Rehberg), which expresses support for backcountry airstrips. Generally speaking, a backcountry airstrip is an unattended landing area in a location that provides access to remote, undeveloped rural areas by aircraft, usually airplanes.

Backcountry airstrips are a part of life for many Americans, especially in the West. They provide countless benefits to the general public, including search and rescue, fire management, research, disaster relief and wildlife management. They also allow public access to some of the most beautiful, remote federal lands in America, as well as providing a means of access to remote areas for physically disadvantaged individuals who might not otherwise be able to get to remote locations for leisure.

Backcountry airstrips serve as efficient access points for tourists, who in turn contribute to local economies and small businesses. More importantly, in the event of mechanical problems or inclement weather, they serve as emergency landing sites when larger airports are out of reach.

Many backcountry airstrips are privately owned. In addition, several state aviation offices own and operate backcountry airstrips, and many airstrips are owned by public agencies involved in land management, such as the Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

H. Res. 1473 recognizes the value of recreational aviation and backcountry airstrips located on the nation's public lands and commends aviators and the various organizations that maintain these airstrips for public use.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution.


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