Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Wilderness airstrip maintained with non-motorized technology

SALMON, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Indian Creek Airstrip will be closed from May 8th through May 12th while the Salmon-Challis Forest trail crew performs routine maintenance on the remote runway. The airstrip is located in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, southwest of Salmon, Idaho. The Indian Creek airstrip is one of three backcountry airstrips maintained by the Forest Service along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Because they were already established, a total of 7 remote airstrips were allowed to continue when the wilderness area was designated in 1980. But, there is no road access into the remote airstrip and the wilderness management plan states that airstrip operations must adhere to the wilderness concept of using the "minimum tool". The rules were specified in the Central Idaho Wilderness Act of 1980. Non-motorized methods are used for recurring and routine airstrip maintenance, in conformance with general wilderness management policy and prohibitions against the use of motorized equipment or types of mechanical transport. Because of that, forest crews used a mule-drawn blade to maintain the runway.

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