New USFS Recreational Rule Up for Comment

The United States Forest Service is revising its National Forest System (NFS) land management planning process, a move that could restrict backcountry flying. A series of roundtable discussions have taken place around the country to collect public input, leading to issuance of a draft rule. AOPA and the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) have participated in several of the roundtable discussions as well as other meetings in Washington, D.C. "Our effort was twofold," said RAF president John McKenna. "First, to be a positive contributor to the process, and second, to raise the awareness that aviation has a legitimate place at the table. We believe we have done both of those." But RAF has expressed the need for public comments to the rule, which will be accepted until May 16.

The part of the 50-page proposed rule that is pertinent to recreational use begins on page 8,519, paragraph 219.10 (Multiple uses). The RAF suggests a standalone component of the rule to address increasing demands for recreational use of NFS land and to increase access to recreational areas through aircraft landing sites on land and water. Further suggestions include separate management strategies for general transportation systems (railroads and freeways) and recreation facilities, and giving "social" and "economic"issues the same attention as "ecological" issues. To comment on the proposed rule, click here.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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